‘Tavolo Pesce (viso),’ 198x125x74 cm. Estimate: €20.000-26.000. Starting price: €12.500. Courtesy San Carlo Aste.

Il mercato dell’arte in Italia: Una nuova casa d’aste a Torino

‘Tavolo Pesce (viso),’ cm 198x125x74, piano realizzato in resina liquida, supportato da un traliccio metallico che vincola le gambe realizzato da resine con spatole a mano. Date e firma sotto il piano, Produzione Memphis. Stima: €20.000-26.000.Base d'asta: €12.500. Courtesy San Carlo Aste.

‘Tavolo Pesce (viso),’ cm 198x125x74, piano realizzato in resina liquida, supportato da un traliccio metallico che vincola le gambe realizzato da resine con spatole a mano. Date e firma sotto il piano, Produzione Memphis. Stima: €20.000-26.000.Base d’asta: €12.500. Courtesy San Carlo Aste.

Intervista con Patrik Launo, directore artistico di San Carlo Aste.

Q: Quando è nata la San Carlo Aste?

A: Nel luglio 2011 da un’idea di tre esperti del settore. La prima asta si è tenuta nel dicembre 2011.

Q: Chi sono i fondatori e da che settori provengono?

A: Pasquale Chianello, Patrik Launo e Giovanni Marocco Carena, tutti e tre grandi appassionati di arte e antiquariato, il primo proviene anche da un’esperienza di grande successo pluiriennale nel settore dei viaggi e del turismo, gli altri due con esperienze internazionali in altre case d’asta e nel settore specifico del collezionismo di alto livello.

Q: Quali novità offre la San Carlo Aste? Quali sono le vostre strategie?

A: Organizziamo aste mensili che riducono i tempi tra la consegna, la vendita e l’incasso. Dall’anno prossimo vorremmo mettere in calendario addirittura due aste al mese. Per i lotti più importanti offriamo ai clienti l’anticipo della base d’asta – offerta allettante per monetizzare subito l’opera o l’oggetto da collezione. Torino e il Piemonte sono veri giacimenti di opere d’arte e collezioni e noi offriamo un canale che prima mancava anche per settori come per esempio i vini (siamo i primi in Piemonte) o le automobili da collezione (in questo caso siamo i primi in Italia. La prima asta si terrà a febbraio 2013). Cerchiamo di diversificare l’offerta sia per quanto riguarda i settori, che per i price range. Offriamo lotti interessanti a livello internazionale. E poi utilizziamo molto il dopo-asta. Nelle nostre sedi ci sono sempre esposizioni e abbiamo una galleria con 7.000 oggetti che si possono acquistare subito sia in sede che su internet.

Q: Com’è andato il primo anno di attività? Quali sono stati i risultati e quali dipartimenti hanno dato i risultati migliori?

A: Nel primo hanno abbiamo avuto un numero di lotti venduti pari a 1.200 per un totale del 70% dei lotti presentati con un risultato di oltre 2,5 milioni di euro di venduto. Grandi soddisfazioni ci sono state date dal settore degli orologi da polso con il top lot Rolex Daytona Paul Newman, partito da un base d’asta di 15.000 euro e venduto a 75.000 euro. Le offerte provenivano da Singapore, Israele e Stati Uniti. Quello degli orologi è un settore in grande crescita, soprattutto sul mercato orientale (Hong Kong in prima linea). Poi il design italiano. Il top lot finora è stata una Legnaia in marmo di Carlo Mollino proveniente da Casa Minola a Biella. Era un pezzo unico venduto in Germania a 56.000 euro (partiva da 25.000 euro). Mollino è molto riconosciuto sul mercato internazionale. E infine l’arte antica, con una bella coppia di paesaggi romani della scuola del Panini provenienti da un castello piemontese venduti a 80.000 euro. Sono tornati a Roma, il che significa che anche il mercato italiano è pronto a spendere quando c’è la qualità, anche se il settore antico sta attraversando un momento difficile.

Q: Quante opere d’arte e quanti oggetti di design offrirete all’asta del 4 ottobre?

A: Oltre 300 lotti di design e arte contemporanea.

Q: Quali artisti e designer sono rappresentati?

A: Kounellis, Pistoletto, Sottsass, Fornasetti, Mendini, Arman, Worhol, Gufram e altri.

Q: Perché unire l’arte contemporanea e il design?

A: Perché i clienti che acquistano arte contemporanea sono gli stessi che acquistano design. Facciamo la stessa cosa con gli arredi antichi e i dipinti. In questi periodi di crisi la tendenza è di allargare i cataloghi invece di dividere in settori. Cerchiamo di incontrare il gusto della clientela e in questo modo riusciamo anche a ridurre i costi – per esempio per i cataloghi.

Q: Quali sono gli highlight tra le opere di arte contemporanea in vendita il 4 ottobre?

A: Per l’arte contemporanea un’accumulazione del 1971 di Arman, Frozen Garbage # (Civilitazion). È un’opera importante perché è rara sul mercato italiano. Proviene da una galleria di New York, la Lauwrence Rubin. Solitamente Arman è meglio rappresentato sul mercato americano e francese. La base d’asta è di 60.000 euro. Fa parte della nota serie delle accumulazioni, una serie a cui Arman ha lavorato negli anni ’60-’70 con diversi oggetti tra cui i violini e i tubetti di pittura. Questa è un’accumulazione di spazzatura, un’opera provocatoria nata in un periodo in cui si cercava lo stupore. … Un’altra opera importante e rara è l’Autoritratto col colbacco di Michelangelo Pistoletto, la cui base d’asta è 12.000. È un’opera della serie degli specchi, a cui Pistoletto lavora a partire dagli anni ’60 con diversi soggetti, ma l’autoritratto è raro. Pistoletto è molto forte sul mercato internazionale. A Londra a ottobre all’Italian Sale ci saranno diverse opere sue, ma nessun autoritratto.

Q: E quali sono gli highlight tra le opere di design?

A: Per il design il Tavolo Pesce (viso) di Gaetano Pesce (Produzione Memphis) con base d’asta di 12.500 euro. Proviene da una collezione privata per cui è stato appositamente realizzato. Il materiale è la gomma colata a caldo. Il tricolore è un omaggio all’Italia.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


‘Tavolo Pesce (viso),’ cm 198x125x74, piano realizzato in resina liquida, supportato da un traliccio metallico che vincola le gambe realizzato da resine con spatole a mano. Date e firma sotto il piano, Produzione Memphis. Stima: €20.000-26.000.Base d'asta: €12.500. Courtesy San Carlo Aste.

‘Tavolo Pesce (viso),’ cm 198x125x74, piano realizzato in resina liquida, supportato da un traliccio metallico che vincola le gambe realizzato da resine con spatole a mano. Date e firma sotto il piano, Produzione Memphis. Stima: €20.000-26.000.Base d’asta: €12.500. Courtesy San Carlo Aste.

Michelangelo Pistoletto (1933), ‘Autoritratto col colbacco,’ serigrafia su acciaio, 100x70 cm, es. III/25. Firma e numerazione in basso al retro dell'opera. Stima: €18.000-24.000.Base d'asta: €12.000. Courtesy San Carlo Aste.

Michelangelo Pistoletto (1933), ‘Autoritratto col colbacco,’ serigrafia su acciaio, 100×70 cm, es. III/25. Firma e numerazione in basso al retro dell’opera. Stima: €18.000-24.000.Base d’asta: €12.000. Courtesy San Carlo Aste.

Arman (1928-2005), ‘Frozen Garbage # (Civilitazion) 1971,’ plastica ed oggetti, 46x46x25,50 cm. Autentica di Arman su fotografia rilasciata nel 1971. Provenienza: Lauwrence Rubin, 49 W. 57 St. New York, NY 10019; Galleria il Fauno Due, Torino.  Stima: €90.000-120.000. Base d'asta: €60.000. Courtesy San Carlo Aste.

Arman (1928-2005), ‘Frozen Garbage # (Civilitazion) 1971,’ plastica ed oggetti, 46x46x25,50 cm. Autentica di Arman su fotografia rilasciata nel 1971. Provenienza: Lauwrence Rubin, 49 W. 57 St. New York, NY 10019; Galleria il Fauno Due, Torino. Stima: €90.000-120.000. Base d’asta: €60.000. Courtesy San Carlo Aste.

New art museum designed by Italy’s Renzo Piano opens in Oslo

OSLO (AFP) – Norway’s Queen Sonja inaugurated a new contemporary art museum on the shores of the Oslo fjord Thursday, a giant glass, steel and wood complex resembling a sail designed by Italy’s Renzo Piano.

The Astrup Fearnley Museum, a triangular complex with a tilted glass roof, is home to a large collection acquired over the years by a foundation created by the descendants of Norwegian shipping magnate Thomas Fearnley, who died in 1927.

The 7,000-square-meter (75,000-square-foot) museum, made up of two buildings separated by a narrow canal, features works by big-name artists such as American Jeff Koons and Britain’s Damien Hirst.

It was built at a cost of 700 million kroner (95 million euros, $122 million), and financed by real estate companies that developed Oslo’s chic new central neighbourhood Tjuvholmen, where it is located.

Thursday’s inauguration took place in the presence of Renzo Piano, who has designed the Centre Pompidou in Paris and, more recently, The Shard in London, Europe’s tallest skyscraper.

He has also designed the New York Times headquarters and won the 1998 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The Astrup Fearnley Museum opens to the public on Saturday.

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In addition to portraying Clouseau's boss in the Pink Panther films, Herbert Lom played the lead role in Universal-International's 1962 release 'The Phantom of the Opera.' Image of movie poster courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and The Last Moving Picture Co.

In Memoriam: Herbert Lom of ‘Pink Panther’ films, 95

In addition to portraying Clouseau's boss in the Pink Panther films, Herbert Lom played the lead role in Universal-International's 1962 release 'The Phantom of the Opera.' Image of movie poster courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and The Last Moving Picture Co.

In addition to portraying Clouseau’s boss in the Pink Panther films, Herbert Lom played the lead role in Universal-International’s 1962 release ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’ Image of movie poster courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and The Last Moving Picture Co.

LONDON (AP) — Herbert Lom, the Czech-born actor best known as Inspector Clouseau’s long-suffering boss in the ‘‘Pink Panther’’ movies, died Thursday, his son said. He was 95.

Alec Lom said his father died peacefully in his sleep.

Herbert Lom had a handsomely lugubrious look that was suited to comedy, horror and everything in between. It served him well over a six-decade career in which roles ranged from Napoleon Bonaparte — whom he played twice — to the Phantom of the Opera.

The London-based star appeared in more than 100 films, including ‘‘Spartacus’’ and ‘‘El Cid,’’ and acted alongside film greats including Charlton Heston and Kirk Douglas.

But Lom was most famous for playing Charles Dreyfus, boss to Peter Sellers’ befuddled Clouseau in the popular ‘‘Pink Panther’’ series, from ‘‘A Shot in the Dark’’ in 1964 to ‘‘Son of the Pink Panther’’ in 1993.

‘‘It was a delight to him later in his career to be cast by Pink Panther producer and director Blake Edwards in a comedy role opposite Peter Sellers, and he hugely enjoyed that move,’’ Alec Lom said. ‘‘He had many funny stories about the antics that he and Peter Sellers got up to on the set. It was a nightmare working with Peter because he was a terrible giggler and, between my father and Peter’s laughter, they ruined dozens and dozens of takes.’’

Born Herbert Karel Angelo Kuchacevic ze Schluderpacheru in Prague in 1917, Lom came to Britain at the start of World War II and began his career as a radio announcer with the BBC’s overseas service.

His first major movie role was as Napoleon in 1942’s ‘‘The Young Mr. Pitt.’’ The career that followed saw him cast often as a villain.

In ‘‘The Ladykillers,’’ one of the best-loved British films of the 1950s, Lom played a member of a ruthless crime gang fatally outsmarted by a mild-mannered old lady.

Horror roles included the title character in Hammer Studios’ ‘‘The Phantom of the Opera’’ in 1962, and Van Helsing in 1970’s ‘‘Count Dracula,’’ opposite Christopher Lee.

A postwar American career was stymied when Lom was denied a visa, though he later appeared on U.S. TV series including ‘‘The Streets Of San Francisco’’ and ‘‘Hawaii Five-O.’’

In the 1950s, Lom also had success on the London stage playing the King of Siam in the original London production of the ‘‘The King And I’’ at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, opposite Valerie Hobson.

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Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


In addition to portraying Clouseau's boss in the Pink Panther films, Herbert Lom played the lead role in Universal-International's 1962 release 'The Phantom of the Opera.' Image of movie poster courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and The Last Moving Picture Co.

In addition to portraying Clouseau’s boss in the Pink Panther films, Herbert Lom played the lead role in Universal-International’s 1962 release ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’ Image of movie poster courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and The Last Moving Picture Co.

Exterior of the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, a National Historic Landmark located at 203 N. Amity St. in Baltimore, Maryland. Poe resided there in the 1830s. Displays in the museum include a lock of Poe's hair.

Maryland’s Edgar Allan Poe museum to close temporarily

Exterior of the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, a National Historic Landmark located at 203 N. Amity St. in Baltimore, Maryland. Poe resided there in the 1830s. Displays in the museum include a lock of Poe's hair.

Exterior of the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, a National Historic Landmark located at 203 N. Amity St. in Baltimore, Maryland. Poe resided there in the 1830s. Displays in the museum include a lock of Poe’s hair.

BALTIMORE (AP) – A Baltimore museum dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe is planning to close its doors for the winter and will reopen a changed place.

The museum, a rowhouse where Edgar Allan Poe lived from 1832 to 1835 before he found fame as a writer, normally closes for the winter in December. But this year is different.

The city, which has operated the Poe House since 1979, said two years ago that it no longer wanted the responsibility of operating the museum and removed the site’s $85,000 annual operating costs from the city budget.

Now a nonprofit called Poe Baltimore is making plans for a new operation. The Baltimore Sun reports those plans will be presented to a city board on Oct. 3.The home is expected to reopen in 2013.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

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Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Exterior of the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, a National Historic Landmark located at 203 N. Amity St. in Baltimore, Maryland. Poe resided there in the 1830s. Displays in the museum include a lock of Poe's hair.

Exterior of the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, a National Historic Landmark located at 203 N. Amity St. in Baltimore, Maryland. Poe resided there in the 1830s. Displays in the museum include a lock of Poe’s hair.

Front of Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

$20M expansion plan for Walton Arts Center in NW Arkansas

 Front of Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Front of Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – The board of the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville has endorsed a $20 million expansion to the theater complex on Dickson Street.

The plan announced Tuesday would add new theater seating and expand the lobby and plaza.

Officials say the development will help bring more people to downtown Fayetteville, where the Chancellor Hotel recently opened as an additional anchor for the area.

The theater improvements will also add backstage support and storage space as well as add dressing rooms, a catering kitchen and office space.

The board also has asked the Fayetteville City Council to move forward with construction of a new parking deck that the panel wants to see adjacent to the Walton Arts Center campus.

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Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


 Front of Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Front of Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

First edition, first issue of Ernest Hemingway's 'The Sun Also Rises,' auctioned by PBA Galleries on Dec. 14, 2006. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and PBA Galleries.

Rare Hemingway works go to SC university library

 First edition, first issue of Ernest Hemingway's 'The Sun Also Rises,' auctioned by PBA Galleries on Dec. 14, 2006. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and PBA Galleries.

First edition, first issue of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ auctioned by PBA Galleries on Dec. 14, 2006. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and PBA Galleries.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A love of Ernest Hemingway’s writing and the thrill of tracking down his many works led a Mississippi physician to amass a huge literary collection and donate it to the University of South Carolina so students and scholars could share it, the doctor said Tuesday.

“It’s like an Easter egg hunt. You just don’t know what’s going to pop up,” Edgar Grissom said as he described his 50-year effort to compile all of Hemingway’s English-language publications.

“I have the most complete collection of his primary works in existence,” said Grissom. “There’s no equal to it.”

The 70-year-old Grissom was joined by his wife Julie, 46, at a special showing of the collection in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collection Library on USC’s Columbia campus. Dozens of books in their original dust jackets, along with pamphlets, magazines, proofs and papers are on display in glass-covered cases.

Teachers will be able to access the collection to help students better understand Hemingway’s creative writing process, university officials said.

“It provides a tremendous resource. It makes writing real in a very powerful way,” said William Rivers, chairman of the university’s English Department. “There is no other place in the world now where scholars can go to look at Hemingway’s primary materials.”

Grissom said his efforts began in his 20s as a medical student, and grew over the years. From the time he first read The Green Hills of Africa, until he published his own bibliography of Hemingway’s work in 2011, Grissom said he intended his collection to be used by scholars.

Grissom said the collection includes more than 1,200 copies of novels and first editions as well as 2,500 additional items such as editor’s proofs that few collectors even know exist.

Grissom said he and his wife were donating the collection to South Carolina because he was given encouragement and advice by several USC scholars over the years. He said he encountered resistance from many research libraries and museums.

“I could give you story after story of Hemingway scholars who told me to get lost,” Grissom said. “They didn’t think an amateur had any business doing this.”

In particular, Grissom said he was advised by the late USC English professor Matthew Bruccoli, an F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar, as well as Patrick Scott, the former director of USC’s Rare Books and Special Collections, and Elizabeth Suddeth, who took over Scott’s post last year.

“I had a special relationship with the University of South Carolina that I didn’t have with anyone else,” Grissom said.

University officials said the collection is so broad that it makes the school a top research center for the study of Hemingway because it includes some of the rarest of his published works.

The collection includes many special items, such as a first edition of The Sun Also Rises, the first and second editions of Three Stories and Ten Poems, and three early printings of The Torrents of Spring. It also includes the first and second printings of the American edition, British edition and other scarce early editions of In Our Time.

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Susanne M. Schafer can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/susannemarieap

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Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


 First edition, first issue of Ernest Hemingway's 'The Sun Also Rises,' auctioned by PBA Galleries on Dec. 14, 2006. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and PBA Galleries.

First edition, first issue of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ auctioned by PBA Galleries on Dec. 14, 2006. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and PBA Galleries.

Despite the global embargo on elephant ivory that has been in place since 1990, the rate of elephant slaughter for tusks is at the highest point in a decade. In this picture, three female African bush elephants travel as a small herd in Tanzania. Photo by Ikiwaner, taken July 29, 2010, licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

Philippines to question priest over ivory trade

Despite the global embargo on elephant ivory that has been in place since 1990, the rate of elephant slaughter for tusks is at the highest point in a decade. In this picture, three female African bush elephants travel as a small herd in Tanzania. Photo by Ikiwaner, taken July 29, 2010, licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

Despite the global embargo on elephant ivory that has been in place since 1990, the rate of elephant slaughter for tusks is at the highest point in a decade. In this picture, three female African bush elephants travel as a small herd in Tanzania. Photo by Ikiwaner, taken July 29, 2010, licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Philippine authorities will question a Roman Catholic priest about ivory smuggling after his collection of ivory religious icons was featured in National Geographic magazine, an investigator said Wednesday.

Monsignor Cristobal Garcia, who rose to prominence in a Philippine archdiocese despite a U.S. sex abuse case in the 1980s, is quoted in the October issue of the magazine as describing how to bring ivory figurines into the United States.

National Bureau of Investigation officer Sixto Comia said that authorities are investigating the origin of ivory icons widely used in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. He said Garcia will be questioned but declined to give further details.

An international ban on trade in ivory and elephant tusks has been in effect since 1990.

Customs officials have intercepted more than 10,000 kilograms (22,000 pounds) of elephant tusks in two separate smuggling attempts in 2005 and 2009. A security guard in a government agency where part of the 4,000 kilograms from the 2009 shipment was stolen is facing criminal charges, Comia said.

Archbishop Jose Palma, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said Garcia should be given a “fair and just hearing.”

“The church does not condone ivory smuggling or other illegal activities, although in the past, ivory was one of the materials used in the adornment of liturgical worship,” he said.

Garcia, who is based in Talisay city in Cebu province, is reportedly ill and in a hospital.

He was expelled from the Dominican order in 1986 after he allegedly sexually abused an altar boy in Los Angeles, California. He remains a priest but Palma said Garcia’s “past” case is being investigated by the Vatican.

In the Philippines’ Archdiocese of Cebu, Garcia founded the Society of the Angel of Peace and is chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission on Worship.

In the National Geographic article, Garcia was quoted suggesting how an ivory figurine of the child Jesus may be smuggled out of the country.

“Wrap it in old, stinky underwear and pour ketchup on it. … This is how it is done,” Garcia was quoted as saying.

The report also said Garcia suggested that a certificate from the National Museum of the Philippines could be obtained to declare a religious image an antique, or an ivory carver could issue a document saying it was made before the ban.

A fellow priest, the Rev. Brian Brigoli, curator of the Cebu Cathedral Museum, said he doesn’t believe Garcia would be involved in illegal trade. He said Garcia’s collection includes donations and those he personally purchased during his travels abroad.

“I know he is very keen on provenance,” Brigoli said of his mentor. “He would not get if there is some question on provenance.”

As a “serious collector” of ivory icons, Garcia “knows a lot about how to smuggle, but he is not the one doing it,” Brigoli said.

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Click to read about National Geographic‘s October cover story on ‘Ivory Worship.’

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/14/behind-national-geographics-ivory-worship-investigation/

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Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Despite the global embargo on elephant ivory that has been in place since 1990, the rate of elephant slaughter for tusks is at the highest point in a decade. In this picture, three female African bush elephants travel as a small herd in Tanzania. Photo by Ikiwaner, taken July 29, 2010, licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

Despite the global embargo on elephant ivory that has been in place since 1990, the rate of elephant slaughter for tusks is at the highest point in a decade. In this picture, three female African bush elephants travel as a small herd in Tanzania. Photo by Ikiwaner, taken July 29, 2010, licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

Ai Weiwei in a June 2007 photo by Benutzer. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license.

Chinese court rejects artist Ai Weiwei’s tax appeal

Ai Weiwei in a June 2007 photo by Benutzer. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license.

Ai Weiwei in a June 2007 photo by Benutzer. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license.

BEIJING (AFP) – A Chinese court on Thursday rejected Ai Weiwei’s appeal against a hefty fine for alleged tax evasion which the acclaimed artist and government critic has called an attempt to silence his activism.

“No change in the original verdict,” Ai told reporters after emerging from the Beijing court where the ruling was issued.

Ai, 55, had been seeking an open trial on the allegations of tax evasion by the company he founded, Fake Cultural Development, which had resulted in a $2.4 million fine by the Beijing tax bureau last year.

The burly, wispy-bearded avant-garde artist, who denies the allegations, said the ruling by the intermediate court marked his last chance to contest the fine in court.

Indignant supporters had earlier collected $1.3 million to pay the bond required to challenge the charge, with some even throwing money over the walls into his courtyard home.

The bond will be used to pay part of the fine, but Ai did not indicate whether or how he planned to repay the rest of the fine, nor did he make clear what his next move might be.

“As far as I understand, this is it. Anything else, I need to ask my lawyers,” he said.

“The court completely refused to respect the facts, they did not give us a chance to present our case and ignored the rights of the taxpayer,” Ai added.

The son of a poet revered by China’s early Communist leaders, Ai helped design the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium for the 2008 Beijing Games, an event that brought worldwide prestige to the ruling Communist Party.

But the painter, sculptor, photographer and architect has since emerged as a fierce government critic, often through his prolific use of the Internet and social media.

He has called the tax accusation an attempt by China’s communist authorities to “crush” him for his activism.

His outspoken criticism of China’s leaders – he has referred to them as “gangsters” – and involvement in sensitive social campaigns have since made him a thorn in the government’s side.

He is known for tallying the number of schoolchildren killed in a 2008 earthquake, a taboo subject because many schools collapsed while other buildings did not, fuelling suspicion that government corruption led to shoddy construction.

Ai said police detained and beat him in 2009 to prevent him from testifying at the trial of another activist who investigated the issue, and later underwent surgery in Germany as a result of his injuries.

He was taken into custody for 81 days last year during a round-up of activists as popular revolts gathered force in the Middle East.

Upon his release he was accused of tax evasion and barred from leaving the country for one year.

His legal team have said they had new evidence and had launched their second and final appeal – which was the subject of Thursday’s ruling – in the case against the Beijing tax bureau.

“There was never any hearing or deliberation. It was like the verdict was well prepared in advance,” Ai told reporters.

Ai has all along said he expected to lose the fight, saying China’s judiciary was not independent.

“After the trial, I had one thing to say: I asked the judge if he was a Communist Party member. Of course he didn’t respond to my question. I said ‘Shameless. This shame will be remembered,'” he said.

After Ai’s travel ban expired this June he said he was still unable to leave the country pending an investigation for alleged crimes including putting “pornography” on the Internet.

The restriction has prevented Ai from attending overseas exhibitions of his work, the value of which has shot up since his detention thrust him into the global spotlight.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Ai Weiwei in a June 2007 photo by Benutzer. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license.

Ai Weiwei in a June 2007 photo by Benutzer. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license.

Blue Ridge Chandelier (detail), 2012, 216 x 160 x 84” Photo by Nathaniel Willson

1.5-ton chandelier beckons visitors to Chihuly exhibit

Blue Ridge Chandelier (detail), 2012, 216 x 160 x 84” Photo by Nathaniel Willson

Blue Ridge Chandelier (detail), 2012, 216 x 160 x 84” Photo by Nathaniel Willson

RICHMOND, Va. – A signature installation of the Dale Chihuly exhibition begins Oct. 5 and will feature an intricate, 3,000-pound glass chandelier visible from the museum’s main approach. Blue Ridge Chandelier will hang adjacent to the Tiffany Christ Resurrection Window. The fall exhibition, Chihuly at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, opens Oct. 20.

“Although a century apart, we’re delighted to showcase two legendary glass innovators side by side,” VMFA Director Alex Nyerges said, “especially since this year is the 50th anniversary of the studio glass movement. The chandelier, inspired by the Tiffany windows, is a spectacular example of Chihuly’s artistry, constructed from approximately 1,151 hand-blown glass elements.”

Another site-specific installation, Red Reeds, was installed in the reflecting pool in the VMFA sculpture garden in August. More than 60 feet in length, the work features 199 red reeds measuring up to 10 feet tall, interspersed among the aquatic foliage.

The Chihuly exhibition at VMFA is the artist’s third major U.S. museum exhibition in recent years. Chihuly is recognized for his ambitious architectural installations around the world, in historic cities, public museums and gardens. During the last decade 101 exhibitions in seven countries have presented artworks by the artist, which have been enjoyed by more than 10 million visitors.

Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the medium of glass from the realm of craft to fine art.

Educational programs will include a free family day, Celebrate the Art of Glass, on Oct. 13, as well as a lecture by glass historian William Warmus, films, studio classes, gallery talks and glassblowing demonstrations.

The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the studio art glass movement in America. Chihuly at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is among the many commemorative glass exhibitions and events that are being celebrated by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.

Fifty years ago, Harvey Littleton, an artist and son of the director of Corning Glass Works, organized the Toledo Workshops in Toledo, Ohio, and spearheaded the development of smaller furnaces and kilns that could be used by artists in their own studios. Through a series of seminars at Toledo, Littleton taught glassmaking techniques ranging from blowing and casting to engraving, polishing, etching and painting. In 1963, Littleton established a glass art program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and Dale Chihuly was one of his students.

In 1969, Chihuly helped establish a glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design. Two years later, he and glassmaker Paul Marioni co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School, an experimental program begun on a tree farm in Seattle that has become a leading institution in the studio glass movement. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Chihuly taught at Wisconsin, RISD and Pilchuck.

Chihuly at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will run through Feb. 10. Tickets cost $20, $16 for seniors and students with valid ID and groups of 10 or more. Free for members. The exhibition is timed for access on the half hour. To purchase, visit www.vmfa.museum/chihuly or call 804-340-1405.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Blue Ridge Chandelier (detail), 2012, 216 x 160 x 84” Photo by Nathaniel Willson

Blue Ridge Chandelier (detail), 2012, 216 x 160 x 84” Photo by Nathaniel Willson

One of a pair of bronze and porcelain cabochon-studded vases on pedestals. Est. $3,500-$8,000. courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Carstens Galleries to offer Oriental & European treasures, Oct. 4

One of a pair of bronze and porcelain cabochon-studded vases on pedestals. Est. $3,500-$8,000. courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

One of a pair of bronze and porcelain cabochon-studded vases on pedestals. Est. $3,500-$8,000. courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

BOCA RATON, Fla. – On October 4, commencing at 5 p.m. Eastern time, Carstens Galleries will present its Oriental & European Treasures auction featuring over 400 lots of antiques, decorative art and other premium-quality estate pieces. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide the Internet live bidding during the sale.

A star lot in the sale is a Snow–Ball Blossoms vase, estimated date of manufacture 1756-1763, from the Royal Porcelain Factory, Meissen, Germany. The piece was designed by Johann Joachim Kaendler, Meissen’s master modeler who joined the porcelain manufactory in 1731. The piece bears the crossed-swords mark first used in 1724, and reflects Kaendler’s manner of decoration of the period. Based on a number of key factors, it is possible to determine that the vases were created during the Seven Years War, when Saxony was occupied by the army of Frederick the Great.

The substantial ivory offerings in the sale are of exquisite quality, ranging from netsukes and small detailed oriental figures to larger one-piece works of art and an outstanding one of a kind mammoth tusk with very intricate and interesting master carving work.

Some of the European offerings include a KPM lithophane, porcelains by Limoges, Dresden, Lladro, Royal Copenhagen and Sevres; as well as several pieces of WMF production, bronze pieces and Murano art glass. The list of choice selections continues with chandeliers, Art Deco lamps, music and jewelry boxes; and old European paintings.

The sale also features sterling silver medals, wristwatches by Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe and Chopard; and a vintage assortment of pocket timepieces from a private collection.

Lot 1270 is a Mediterranean red coral necklace of considerable value and rarity, and the closing piece of the sale is a magnificent gold-thread tapestry with flowers and stones.

For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Claudio Calderon at Carstens Galleries, 561-393-6067, or e-mail carstensgalleries@yahoo.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


One of a pair of bronze and porcelain cabochon-studded vases on pedestals. Est. $3,500-$8,000. courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

 

One of a pair of bronze and porcelain cabochon-studded vases on pedestals. Est. $3,500-$8,000. courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Ivory over ebony buffalo with astrological animal carvings. Est. $1,600-$4,000. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Ivory over ebony buffalo with astrological animal carvings. Est. $1,600-$4,000. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Meissen Snow-Ball Blossoms vase, 23 inches. Est. $6,000-$30,000. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Meissen Snow-Ball Blossoms vase, 23 inches. Est. $6,000-$30,000. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Ivory sculpture. Est. $2,500-$6,500. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Ivory sculpture. Est. $2,500-$6,500. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Russian 14K gold pillbox, 23.7 grams of gold. Est. $1,200-$3,000. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Russian 14K gold pillbox, 23.7 grams of gold. Est. $1,200-$3,000. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Handmade gold-embroidered tapestry with stones, 48 x 30 inches. Est. $3,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.

Handmade gold-embroidered tapestry with stones, 48 x 30 inches. Est. $3,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of Carstens Galleries.