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    A New Show on the Infamous Hollywood Blacklist Displays 100 Objects From a Dark Chapter in Tinseltown History. See Them Here

    In an era when one faction of America’s political establishment claims socialists control the entertainment and media industries, it’s worth noting the plain obvious: America has been here before.
    As Cold War battle lines hardened and America flexed its might across the globe in the 1940s, inwardly it began scouring industries for communist infiltrators. The House on Un-American Activities Committee led the charge and in 1947 put Hollywood on trial before Congress. One outcome was the jailing of recalcitrant industry figures, the infamous Hollywood Ten; another was a secret meeting at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel at which politicians forced studio heads to persecute those with Communist Party ties.
    A telegram invitation to this Waldorf Conference is among the more than 100 objects presented at Los Angeles’s Skirball Cultural Center in an exhibition that tells the story of how America’s film industry abandoned civil liberties under corporate and political pressure. On show through September 3, “Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare” is a collision of film and civic history that leads visitors to contemplate the lives ruined, the movies never made, and the ominous echoes in today’s polarized world.
    “‘Blacklist’ highlights issues of persecution, loss of civil liberties, as well as the dangers of propaganda,” Cate Thurston, the exhibition’s curator told Artnet News, noting the show has particular resonance in the context of the writer’s strike. “Dynamic history exhibitions like ‘Blacklist’ are built to facilitate critical thinking about contemporary issues through nuanced explorations of the past.”
    First produced by the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, the Los Angeles exhibition is twice the size of the original and fittingly teems with Hollywood artifacts sourced from the Writers Guild of America West archives and the Margaret Herrick Library.
    Dalton Trumbo features prominently. Trumbo was one of the best-paid screenwriters in the 1940s before being blacklisted for Communist Party affiliations and forced to write under pseudonyms. He did so with remarkable prolificacy. “Blacklist” displays his screenplay for Spartacus (1960) as well as the Oscar statuettes he received for Roman Holiday (1953) and The Brave One (1956), neither of which he was able to collect without compromising his identity.
    Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo served 11 months in the federal penitentiary in Ashland, Kentucky, in 1950. While incarcerated, Trumbo stored some of his personal belongings in typewriter ribbon tins. The items he kept included a calendar and notes from his children. Photo courtesy of Mitzi Trumbo.
    Given the prominent position Jewish people occupied in Hollywood, many of the exhibits speak to the conflicting way Jews both patrolled and disproportionally suffered in the climate of red panic. The aforementioned telegram was addressed to Louis B. Mayer, co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, the so-called King of Hollywood, whose studio would go on to rigorously enforce the government line. On the opposing side were First Amendment advocates, many of whom focused on the civil injustices dealt to Hollywood Ten—one lobbyist was Lauren Bacall (neé Betty Joan Perske) whose costume for How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) is on show.
    “Many of the creatives and executives affected by the blacklist were Jewish,” Thurston said, “Antisemitism is an explicit theme throughout the exhibition and many of the artifacts the Skirball added demonstrate how antisemitism shaped the Hollywood Blacklist.” For Thurston, curating the show had a personal resonance given Red Scare politics impacted several members of her family: some fled to Europe, others scraped by writing magazine articles under invented names.
    Lauren Bacall’s costume for her role as Schatze Page in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), designed by William Travilla. Courtesy of Larry McQueen Film Costume Collection.
    As with previous Skirball exhibitions, such as a look at Star Trek’s impact on visual culture and the legacy of master puppeteer Jim Henson, “Blacklist” is shadowed by a summer-long film program. The season begins with the 2007 documentary Trumbo in which the writer tells his own story, and goes on to screen classics penned by blacklisted writers including High Noon (1952) and The Breaking Point (1950), as well as The Way We Were (1973) that is based off Arthur Laurents’s experiences with the House Un-American Activities Committee.
    “Skirball welcomes opportunities to honor memory and facilitate dialogue about how collective historic memories influence contemporary American attitudes,” Thurston said. “My hope is that visitors come to the exhibition and make connections for themselves.”
    See more images from the exhibition below.
    Installation view of “Blacklist” at the Skirball Cultural Center. Photo courtesy Skirball Cultural Center.
    Dalton Trumbo’s Academy Award for Best Original Story for The Brave One, awarded to the fictious Robert Rich (1956), Courtesy of Molly Trumbo Gringas.
    Booklet, Committee on Un-American Activities, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. (revised 12/1/1950). Courtesy of the Jewish Museum Milwaukee collections.
    Installation view of “Blacklist” at the Skirball Cultural Center. Photo courtesy Skirball Cultural Center.
    Union flyer promoting the opening of Salt of the Earth (1954). Courtesy of the Herbert Biberman and Gale Sondergaard Papers, Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.
    Installation view of “Blacklist” at the Skirball Cultural Center. Photo courtesy Skirball Cultural Center.
    Alfred L. Levitt’s Writers Guild of America membership cards from 1965 to 1982 list both his real name and his front, Tom August. On loan from the Screen Writers Guild Records, Writers Guild Foundation Library and Archive
    “Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare” is on view at Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, through September 3.
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    Is Hannah Gadsby’s Picasso Show at the Brooklyn Museum ‘Disastrous’ or Are Its Critics Just ‘Hysterical’? Here Are All the Hot Takes

    From its punny title on down, the Brooklyn Museum’s new exhibition “It’s Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby” was designed to start a conversation. Love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny that the show, which looks at the artist’s complicated legacy through the eyes of Gadsby, an Australian comedian best known for the Netflix special Nanette, has succeeded in that regard. 
    Even before it even opened, the show elicited the kind of fervent takedowns you rarely see from art critics these days. Then, just as quickly, the backlash brought on its own backlash. Only three days out from the opening it already feels like we’re in the third or fourth wave of “takes.” (Which in itself is a little funny, because both sides of the debate have accused the other of indulging in the kind of rapid, vapid opinions that dominate Twitter discourses, not legitimate art-historical ones.)
    “There’s little to see. There’s no catalogue to read. The ambitions here are at GIF level, though perhaps that is the point,” wrote New York Times critic at large Jason Farago of the exhibition in a review last week. The show, he argued, “backs away from close looking for the affirmative comforts of social-justice-themed pop culture.” 

    “It’s Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby” at the Brooklyn Museum gives the audience permission to ignore what challenges them, and to ennoble a preference for comfort and kitsch, @jsf, our art critic, writes.
    — The New York Times (@nytimes) June 2, 2023

    Gadsby is after a revisionist history with the show, which is one of 50 international exhibitions presented on the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death. The comedian aims to redress Picasso’s legacy with a consideration of his fattened ego and misogynistic tendencies, his documented abuse of women and colonialist imagery.  
    But the gesture extends beyond show’s titular artist too. For Gadsby, Picasso represents Modernism writ large; he’s the male “genius” in a decades-long movement of male geniuses, many anointed at the expense of equally talented women artists. 
    In response, Gadsby has paired a selection of (mostly minor) Picasso pieces with works by pioneering women artists of the 20th and 21st centuries— Nina Chanel Abney, Dara Birnbaum, Käthe Kollwitz, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, and so on. These creators may be also geniuses in their own right, but their works’ connection to Picasso has been seen as tenuous at best.    

    The Brooklyn Museum has dismissed negative reviews of “It’s Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby,” which opened to the public today after being panned in ARTnews and the New York Times.
    — ARTnews (@artnews) June 2, 2023

    “The function of a public museum (or at least it should be) is to present to all of us these women’s full aesthetic achievements,” Farago wrote, before offering an alternative location for Gadsby’s presentation: “There is also room for story hour, in the children’s wing. 
    That “Pablo-matic” engages in a skin-deep, pseudo-historical investigation of its chosen topic is an opinion shared by other critics too. Artnews’s Alex Greenberger wrote in a review of the “disastrous” show that its “problem—Pablo-m, if you will—is not its revisionary mindset, which justly sets it apart from all the other celebratory Picasso shows being staged this year to mark the 50th anniversary of his death… It is, instead, the show’s disregard for art history,” he wrote, noting that Gadsby studied art history in college only to abandon it out of frustration “with its patriarchal roots.” 

    But while these and other biting reviews circulated online, some pointed out that they came mostly from male critics. “So many angry, hysterical reviews from male art critics must mean that Pablo-matic @brooklynmuseum is saying something really important,‘” wrote the feminist collective Guerrilla Girls, which has a piece in the show, in an Instagram post. 
    Meanwhile, Lisa Small, a Brooklyn Museum curator who, along with colleague Catherine Morris, helped Gadsby organize the exhibition, posted a picture of herself laughing with the comedian. Its caption read: “that feeling when / It’s Pablo-matic / gets (male) art critics’ knickers in a twist.” (Morris reposted it with the caption “An @nytimes columnist got VERY EMOTIONAL about our show.”)
    Australian author Kaz Cooke summed up the sentiment in a Twitter post of her own: “So far male reviewers of @Hannahgadsby’s co-curated Brooklyn Museum Picasso show have slagged it for being about Picasso, not being enough about Picasso, not being funny enough, not being serious enough, having the wrong paintings by women, & having paintings by the wrong women,” she wrote. 

    Shortly after the show opened, Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak weighed in, too. “To those who question whether Gadsby’s voice belongs in this exhibit, I would simply ask: Whose interests are threatened by including it? Or, who benefits from excluding it?” She wrote in an op-ed for the Art Newspaper. 
    “[‘It’s Pablo-matic’] is not about cancelling Picasso. Quite the opposite,” Pasternak continued. “Cancelling means refusing to engage. Refusing to have the conversation. Refusing complexity. Ours is an exhibition that invites complexity. And I’m confident Picasso can handle a little complexity. In fact, he invited it.” 
    “I’m also confident that our audiences can handle complexity, too.”
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    See Inside Keith Haring’s First L.A. Museum Show, Complete With a Pop Shop and a Pink Leather Suit Once Worn by Madonna

    Keith Haring’s linework has graced subterranean tunnels and art’s loftiest exhibition halls. This month, however, marks his first museum retrospective in Los Angeles. “Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody” animates 10 galleries at the Broad, the culmination of a decade of effort first started by the museum’s namesake founder Eli Broad—the late businessman who got his start as a collector buying the work of Haring and his downtown friends in the 1980s.
    Despite the commercial successes of Haring’s approach to accessible art—like his 1986 Pop Shop—“Art Is For Everybody” honors Haring’s political activism. The show features more than 120 artworks and relics that offer shocks of topical vigor, both on and off the canvas, from paintings to experimental videos, ephemera and more. In addition to drawing from its own holdings, the Broad has secured 67 loans from the Keith Haring Foundation and 42 from private collectors.
    “The exhibition offers the opportunity to see work from the full arc of the artist’s career,” curator and exhibitions manager Sarah Loyer told Artnet News. This includes work Haring made as a student at the School of Visual Arts, through to his passing at age 31 from AIDS-related illness.
    “Art Is for Everybody” opens with a striped room highlighting Haring’s Day-Glo paintings. Music culled from his mixtapes transports viewers to Tony Shafrazi Gallery circa 1982. After exploring Haring’s affinity for the graffiti scene’s many moving parts, like hip-hop and breakdancing, the show illustrates how his work grew more fervent with time.
    “He addressed topics from nuclear disarmament during the Cold War Era to religion at a time when the Christian right promoted abstinence-only education despite the growing AIDS epidemic, as well as police brutality, racism, patriarchy, and capitalism,” Loyer said.
    The show closes with Haring’s AIDS activism, then presents a spread of work by downtown art stars like George Condo and Jean Michel Basquiat, who collaborated with the force that was Keith Haring.
    In organizing the show, Loyer came to appreciate that Haring worked with the “confident line” as his primary medium. “If you look closely, you can see it change over time, from the earliest spray-painted works to intricate compositions filling massive unstretched tarpaulins,” she said. Though “Art Is for Everybody” offers universal delights, like a crown Haring helped create for Grace Jones and the pink leather suit Madonna wore to his 1984 birthday party, the show chiefly demonstrates Haring’s ability to blend criticism with optimism through many resounding lines.
    After its showing at The Broad, “Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody” will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Canada. Take a peek below.
    Keith Haring, Untitled (1982). Private collection. © Keith Haring Foundation
    Installation view of “Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody” at the Broad, Los Angeles. Photo: Joshua White/ Courtesy of the Broad.
    Installation view of “Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody” at the Broad, Los Angeles. Photo: Joshua White/ Courtesy of the Broad.
    Keith Haring, Untitled (1988). © Keith Haring Foundation
    Keith Haring with LA II (Angel Ortiz), 3 Piece Leather Suit (1983), leather and paint. © Keith Haring Foundation
    Installation view of “Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody” at the Broad, Los Angeles. Photo: Joshua White/ Courtesy of the Broad.
    Keith Haring, National Coming Out Day (1988), poster. © Keith Haring Foundation
    Installation view of “Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody” at the Broad, Los Angeles. Photo: Joshua White/ Courtesy of the Broad.
    Keith Haring, Untitled (1985). © Keith Haring Foundation, The Broad Art Foundation
    Keith Haring, Reagan’s Death Cops Hunt Pope (1980). © Keith Haring Foundation.
    Installation view of “Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody” at the Broad, Los Angeles. Photo: Joshua White/ Courtesy of the Broad.
    “Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody” is on view at The Broad, 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, through October 8.
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    Photoville Returns to New York With More Than 80 Exhibitions—Many Displayed in the Event’s Signature Shipping Containers

    Photoville, New York’s annual open-air photography show, returns to the city for its 12th straight edition this weekend. On view through June 18, the free event offers more than 80 exhibitions across all five boroughs. On view will be work from hundreds of photographers—some up-and-comers, others award-winning artists and professionals. 
    More than 50 of the exhibitions will take place inside a series of shipping containers—the kind you see stacked like Legos on cargo ships—which will be laid out in Brooklyn Bridge Park for the first time since the 2019 edition of the event. (COVID precautions kept them from being used in the previous three years.) It feels right to have them back; the steel structures have become a symbol of the scrappy event and its aims.  
    Which is not to say that they’re perfect. Many are cramped and reverberant; some are dim and dilapidated from years of use. In other words, they look nothing like the sterile white cubes in which we’re used to seeing art photography.    
    That’s a good thing. For Photoville’s organizers, accessibility, not institutional polish, has always been the goal. They want to bring as many pictures to the public as possible, and the shipping containers—weather-ready, open 24-7—provide a simple solution.   
    “It’s about the stories,” said Laura Roumanos, one of Photoville’s three co-founders, ahead of this year’s event. “We could spend all this money on white walls and beautiful, multimillion-dollar installations or whatever. But that doesn’t matter.” 
    “It’s about the photography,” she continued. “It’s about the story. That is what’s important.” 

    Roumanos, a veteran event producer, said she had tears in her eyes when the first storage containers were laid back in 2012, for Photoville’s first edition. “It represented so much to us,” she recalled. “We fought so hard to make people realize that it was a really great place to show work.” 
    Back then, the show was modest. Roumanos and her fellow founders—Sam Barzilay and Dave Shelley—had, somewhat miraculously, been lent 80,000 square feet in Brooklyn Bridge Park for their nascent event, but the rest required work. So they launched a Kickstarter campaign and secured corporate sponsorships to raise the roughly $250,000 needed to get the festival off the ground. It opened with 20-some shows in a handful of containers.  
    But in the 12 years since then, Photoville has consistently grown: more artists, more exhibitions, more containers, more visitors. More boroughs, too: in 2020, the Brooklyn-centric show ballooned to the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. (The year before, Photoville’s organizers held an L.A. edition of the event, but the pandemic halted the expansion almost as soon as it started.) 
    A shot of the storage containers at Photoville 2018. Photo: Jessica Bal. Courtesy of Photoville.
    This month’s show represents just how far Photoville has come. Going on display is a record number of exhibitions featuring the work of a record number of artists. The budget for the event exceeds $500,000, and visitor numbers are expected to top last year’s high mark of 1 million.  
    Crucially, the organizers haven’t cut moral corners in the name of growth. Photoville pays its staffers (there are no volunteers) and gives exhibiting artists honorariums. This year, it will finance “65 to 70 percent” of shows, according to Roumanos. The rest will be covered by sponsors—a group that includes the New York Times, the Bronx Documentary Center, and Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, among many others. 
    Stephanie Mei-Ling, Portrait of Ronisha and her sons in embrace,, from her “Overpolicing Parents” series. Courtesy of the artist.
    Inclusivity remains a major programming priority, even if the subject matter may alienate some. Many of the projects on view this year tackle big topics: gun control, gender identity, sex work, the environmental crisis.
    A series of photographs by artist Stephanie Mei-Ling documents the impact of Child Protective Services investigations on families, while a body of work by Mackenzie Calle explores the historical exclusion of queer astronauts from the American space program. Jen White-Johnson’s “Autistic Joy” aims to give visibility to children of color in neurodiverse communities. “Guns, Love, Children, America” by Mel D. Cole depicts kids at an NRA convention wielding weapons like toys.
    “We’re not just showing beautiful sculptures or paintings,” Roumanos said. “These are conversations.”  
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    Can’t Get Enough Vermeer? A New Documentary Reveals the Behind-the-Scenes Drama of Planning the Rijksmuseum’s Historic Exhibition

    Since the opening of the Rijksmuseum’s Johannes Vermeer exhibition, the Amsterdam museum has been overwhelmed by visitor demand for the once-in-a-lifetime blockbuster. The institution has had to stay open late to accommodate crowds of art lovers from all over the world eager to see 28 masterpieces by the Dutch Golden Age painter—the most ever shown in one place.
    While the end result is undoubtedly a success, director Suzanne Raes’s new documentary from Kino Lorber, which premiered at New York’s Quad Cinema ahead of the final days of the exhibition, provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse of the drama that preceded the show’s historic run.
    Close to Vermeer follows Gregor Weber, the Rijksmuseum’s head of fine and decorative arts, as he embarks on his last show before retirement, curating a career-defining exhibition with Pieter Roelofs, the museum’s head of paintings and sculpture.
    The filmmakers are there every step of the way, from determining the optimal exhibition crowd control (a semicircular barrier that allows as many as 15 people to stand around each painting at one time), to traveling in person to museums across the U.S. and Europe to court important loans, to making a handful new discoveries about the artist, who remains something of a mystery despite his worldwide fame.
    A still from Close to Vermeer. Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber.
    Weber’s passion for the show’s subject is immediately apparent, as he recounts seeing his first works by the artist as a schoolboy visiting London. “The moment I saw the Vermeers, I actually fainted,” he said.
    That Weber and Roelofs were able to make this exhibition—which sold out in mere days—happen in the first place is nothing short of remarkable. The show was only possible only due to the fact that the Frick Collection in New York, which has three Vermeers, is currently renovating its Fifth Avenue mansion—normally, loans are out of the question.
    Reuniting the bulk of the artist’s oeuvre, in his native country was always going to be a moving experience. Vermeer is only known to have made 37 paintings, including The Concert, which has been missing since its 1990 theft from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
    But the film packs surprising emotional heft when Weber and Roelofs are forced to come to terms with the absence of key works. At various points, the two stand over a desk, arranging and rearranging postcards of all the Vermeer paintings as they might best be displayed in the show.
    A still from Close to Vermeer. Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber.
    The famed Girl With a Pearl Earring from the Mauritshuis in The Hague, for instance, would look great next to Study of a Young Woman, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. And sure, Buckingham Palace hasn’t loaned out The Music Lesson in ages, but “this exhibition is so important that I think they’ll miss something if they don’t let their baby travel to the party,” Weber said hopefully.
    But Buckingham Palace ultimately decided to stay home. And while the Met was happy to lend a pair of Vermeers, three of the institution’s paintings by the artist were unable to make the trip. Young Woman with a Water Pitcher was deemed too fragile, and the donors of Study of a Young Woman and A Maid Asleep had imposed restrictions on their bequests, prohibiting the works from ever going on loan.
    “I feel a kind of sadness,” Roelofs told Met associate curator Adam Eaker during a visit to the museum. “We know that we’ll never be able to bring paintings like this back home.”
    Johannes Vermeer, Study of a Young Woman, (ca. 1665–67). Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
    The film’s villain, however, is undoubtedly Silke Gatenbröcker, the chief curator of paintings at the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum in Braunschweig, Germany.
    After flipping several Vermeer postcards facedown, resigned to the fact they would not be coming to Amsterdam, Weber voices his determination to secure one more loan, of Braunschweig’s The Girl With the Wineglass. Paired with the similar The Wine Glass from the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, and the Frick’s Girl Interrupted at Her Music, the painting is “pivotal” in showing Vermeer’s artistic development and recurring themes, Weber believes.
    “You’re going after this one,” Roelofs said. “Yeah,” Weber replied.
    Johannes Vermeer, The Girl With the Wineglass. Collection of the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum in Braunschweig, Germany
    Cut to the empty galleries of the Braunschweig, barely a single visitor in sight.
    “A collection like this and there’s no one here,” Weber marveled.
    Sadly, that does not mean the German museum will cooperate.
    “This coming year we’ve got the theme for the Lower Saxony state finals. All the students sitting their final art exams have to write about this Vermeer,” Gatenbröcker told him.
    Weber points out this can’t be more than 500, maybe 1,000 students. Maybe they could all take the bus to Amsterdam to see it there? (The two museums are only a four-and-a-half-hour drive apart.)
    Johannes Vermeer, The Glass of Wine (ca. 1659–61). Collection of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Gemäldegalerie.
    “They will be bussed here,” the curator insisted.
    A disappointed Weber accepts that he will have to take a last yearning look at the painting (and possibly jump off the nearest bridge).
    The documentary is at its most riveting, however, when it comes to two of the paintings that did actually make the trip to Amsterdam, including Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, from the Leiden Collection.
    American billionaire Thomas Kaplan purchased the work, which is the only privately owned Vermeer, from casino owner Steve Wynn with the help of dealer Otto Naumann. (The latter has one the film’s great lines: “Rich people do a great thing. They die.… it’s like a big funnel effect. [Great artworks] all wind up in museums eventually.”)
    Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (ca. 1670–1672). Collection of the Leiden Collection, New York.
    “[Steve] said ‘If you want the Rembrandt self portrait, you have to buy the Vermeer at the same time,’” Kaplan, who is known for his Rembrandt holdings, said. “I thought about that. There’s a little expression: ‘You can’t threaten me with a good time.’”
    Experts have determined that Kaplan’s painting was cut from same bolt of canvas as Vermeer’s The Lacemaker, which certainly suggests that both are by the artist—although it’s possible that another artist bought the canvas. But Weber is immediately doubtful about Young Woman, especially her yellow shawl.
    “I’m not supposed to be saying this, but you get the feeling someone else came in to complete this painting,” he told Jonathan Janson, a painter and an expert on the artist who runs the website Essential Vermeer.
    Johannes Vermeer, The Lacemaker (1666–68). Collection of the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
    Janson had his own issues with the painting, namely its compositional similarity to the similarly titled Lady Seated at a Virginal, from London’s National Gallery. “Why would Vermeer have done a copy and paste?” he asked. “There’s nothing original. This is very labored. It’s not a good piece of painting.”
    Weber seemed to agreed. “Do I have to write attributed to Vermeer or studio of Vermeer?” he added. “This is really a little bit of a problem.”
    The very next shot features an ebullient Kaplan, who arrives at the Rijksmuseum conservation lab to see what they’ve found in its analysis of the work. He is delighted to learn that the woman’s shawl was indeed part of the original composition—proof, he feels, that this is really Vermeer.
    Johannes Vermeer, A Young Lady Seated at a Virginal, (c.1670). Collection of the National Gallery, London.
    Kaplan is talking, but the camera zooms in on Weber standing behind him, lingering on his obvious unease. Weber does not voice his doubts, and an on-screen caption clarifies that “the Rijksmuseum fully accepts Young Woman Seated at a Virginal as an authentic Vermeer.” It’s a very funny moment.
    Perhaps equally uncomfortable is the case of Girl With a Flute, from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. First, there’s the back room negotiations to ensure that the museum is willing to part with its quartet of Vermeer pictures, which Betsy Wieseman, the curator and head of Northern European paintings, calls “pilgrimage paintings” that people specifically visit the museum to see.
    “Would there be a possibility of a reciprocal loan of a Vermeer at some point?” she asked. Roelofs quickly agreed that there could be.
    Johannes Vermeer, Girl With a Flute (c. 1669/1675). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Widener Collection.
    But months later, when the National Gallery team visits the Netherlands, a new wrinkle has arisen. The Americans have examined the painting, and they don’t think it’s a Vermeer at all.
    Girl With a Flute features Vermeer’s signature green earth in the flesh tones, but “look how lumpy the paint handling is. Generally, you get a sense of somebody who’s really struggling, who hasn’t quite got command of his materials,” Melanie Gifford, the gallery’s research conservator for painting technology, said. “This artist knew he should be using green earth material, but didn’t quite have the knack.”
    (Janson separately points out the neck in The Guitar Player, from the collection of the Kenwood House in London, is so green that “it looks like a lizard—but there’s no doubt that it’s a Vermeer.”)
    Johannes Vermeer, The Guitar Player (ca. 1672). Collection of Kenwood House, London.
    The tension in the meeting is palpable, the Rijksmuseum team clearly unhappy with what they are hearing.
    “We can say that Vermeer was not involved with the creation of Girl With a Flute,” Alexandra Libby, the National Gallery’s associate curator of Northern Baroque paintings, concluded. “What do you think? Do you still want the painting in your show?”
    Weber definitely does. And Roelofs causes some additional drama when he goes to the papers, proclaiming that while the National Gallery is not loaning a Vermeer, it will be one by the time it arrives: “The doubts will evaporate during the flight across the ocean.”
    The documentary makes several arguments in favor of the painting, noting its close relationship to Vermeer’s Girl With a Red Hat, also from the National Gallery. (That painting’s authorship has also since been questioned, with a new fringe theory that it is the work of his daughter, Maria Vermeer.)
    Jonathan Janson painting in a still from Close to Vermeer. Photo courtesy of Kino Lorber.
    Perhaps Girl With a Flute was an early experiment by the artist with green earth, or perhaps Vermeer had an assistant who did parts of it, or perhaps it is unfinished. (The National Gallery curators shoot all these ideas down.)
    The dueling opinions don’t exactly amount to an international incident, but Rijksmuseum curator Taco Dibbits does express his disappointment that Roelofs didn’t make their position clear to their colleagues at the National Gallery before speaking to press.
    It’s the last real drama in the film, which ends with Weber in the fully hung galleries, a voice over the loudspeaker announcing the museum’s opening for the day—and the beginning of the exhibition he’s been so busy planning.
    “Vermeer” is on view at the Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, Amsterdam, February 10–June 4, 2023.
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    Pokémon as Muse? See Artist Katherine Bernhardt’s Exuberant New Paintings That Channel the Beloved Pocket Monsters

    For the past two decades, Katherine Bernhardt’s schtick has been throwing everyday stuff onto the canvas in exuberant, messy, color-pop paintings. Ketchup, hamburger, toilet roll, toothbrush, cigarette—to scan a gallery of Bernhardts is to see an artist who works instinctively, one who eyes something near-at-hand and then makes it massive, flat, and drowning in a sea of color.
    Most recently, that thing within reach has been Pokémon cards. Bernhardt’s son began collecting the cards during the pandemic and soon she too was a fan. Bernhardt captures the fun, vibrant escapism of the Pokémon universe in her new show at David Zwirner Hong Kong—deep breath—“Dummy doll jealous eyes ditto pikachu beefy mimikyu rough play Galarian rapid dash libra horn HP 270 Vmax full art,” set to run through August 20.
    Installation view of “Katherine Bernhardt: Dummy doll jealous eyes ditto pikachu beefy mimikyu rough play Galarian rapid dash libra horn HP 270 Vmax full art” at David Zwirner, Hong Kong, 2023. Photo courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.
    Most of the paintings on display in her first solo venture in Hong Kong replicate the formal components of a Pokémon trading card: a rectangular portrait with a delineated border and inscribed with the Pokémon’s Hit Points (HP), energy type, and skill moves, written in both English and Japanese.
    As ever, Bernhardt is not one for pompous titles. Surfing Pikachu (2021) is as expected: a gleeful Pikachu racing through a sea of swirls on a pink surfboard. Chansey (2021) is typically affable, clutching her lucky egg that appears like a golden acorn, and labelled “#113” as per her Pokédex number.
    The difference is in the execution. With Pokémon cards, which Nintendo released under the art direction of Ken Sugimori in 1996, the image appears glossy and computer-enhanced, the layout balancing artwork and gameplay information. Bernhardt’s “cards” have no such constraint. Colors collide and merge, and her creatures dominate the canvas, poking through borders in striking gestures that echo signature movements known from Nintendo’s video games.
    Installation view, Katherine Bernhardt, Pikachu Pikaball and Ditto VMax Ju Ju (2021). Photo courtesy David Zwirner.
    This blurred, bold effect is a product of the frenetic pace at which Bernhardt works. In a process she has followed for much of her career, outlines are first hashed out in spray-paint, next she lays the canvas on the floor and layers on watered down acrylic paint, hence the bleeding of colors. Oftentimes, Bernhardt attacks multiple paintings simultaneously.
    The rough repurposing of pop culture subjects is something of a Bernhardt staple. She’s previously painted Darth Vader, Pink Panther, Garfield, E.T., typically on hot tropical backgrounds. The show notes proclaim the St. Louis born artist is challenging “high-low dichotomies of contemporary painting” and by extension questioning art world value systems.
    But she might just as readily be making Pokémon paintings because they’re fun.

    “There was some criticism, like, ‘Oh, great choice of subject matter to paint.’ Like, what do you want me to paint? War zones and people dying and kids being killed? There’s enough of that on TV and in the real world,” she told the South China Morning Post.

    “The art, for me, it’s more like an escape. And a world you can go into that’s colorful and good.”

    See more images from the show below.
    Installation view of “Katherine Bernhardt: Dummy doll jealous eyes ditto pikachu beefy mimikyu rough play Galarian rapid dash libra horn HP 270 Vmax full art” at David Zwirner, Hong Kong, 2023. Photo courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.
    Katherine Bernhardt, Chansey (2021). Photo courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.
    Katherine Bernhardt, Gengar and Mimikyu Tag Team GX Poltergeist Horror House (2021). Photo courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.
    Katherine Bernhardt, Galarian Rapid Dash (2023). Photo courtesy the artist and David Zwirner.
    Katherine Bernhardt in her studio, St. Louis, 2023. Photo: Whitten Sabbatini.
    “Katherine Bernhardt: Dummy doll jealous eyes ditto pikachu beefy mimikyu rough play Galarian rapid dash libra horn HP 270 Vmax full art” is on view at David Zwirner, 5–6/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, through August 20.
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    Ernest Cole’s Groundbreaking Photographs of South African Apartheid Have Been Rediscovered After Going Missing for Decades. See Them Here

    In 1966, Ernest Cole fled his native South Africa, never to return. The nation’s first Black freelance photographer, he carried with him a secret cache of images documenting the evils of apartheid—photos he knew that could never be published in the county of his birth.
    Instead, he went to New York City, where Magnum Photos and Random House published his House of Bondage, exposing South Africa’s horrific apartheid system to the world. The groundbreaking book became international news, helping fuel the anti-apartheid movement.
    In 1968, Cole wrote in Ebony that he wanted his photography book “to show the world what the white South African had done to the Black.”
    “I knew that if an informer would learn what I was doing I would be reported and end up in jail,” he continued. “I knew that I could be killed merely for gathering that material for such a book and I knew that when I finished, I would have to leave my country in order to have the book published. And I knew that once the book was published, I could never go home again.”
    Ernest Cole, from House of Bondage. Handcuffed blacks were arrested for being in a white area illegally. Photo ©Ernest Cole, courtesy of Magnum Photos.
    But Cole‘s fame was short-lived. He gave up photography in the 1970s, and died destitute, at just 49 years old, in 1990. His original negatives were believed to have been lost.
    Until a few years ago, that is. In 2018, Cole’s heirs found 60,000 negatives in a Stockholm bank vault. Now, the first exhibition featuring works from Cole’s rediscovered archive is on view at at FOAM, the Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam.
    “Ernest Cole: House of Bondage” showcases Cole’s pioneering work, and the obstacles he overcame in order to capture the groundbreaking images of oppression.
    Born in 1940, Cole started taking photographs at just eight years old. South African authorities greatly restricted the movement of Black people, but Cole was able to change his registration to the less constrained category of “colored.” (One of the tests was whether or not a pencil would get stuck in your hair.)
    This relative freedom of movement gave Cole the ability to photograph shocking scenes of South Africa life.
    He went to the mines, where men lined up to be processed for grueling manual labor, living in harsh barracks far from home. He went to schools where Bantu children worked on the floor due to lack of desks. He visited Black servants working for white families, their living quarters furnished with milk crates and newspaper carpeting.
    Ernest Cole, from House of Bondage. Students kneel on the floor to write. The government did not always provide schools for black children. Photo ©Ernest Cole, courtesy of Magnum Photos.
    Other photos show Black men handcuffed and young boys behind bars, arrested for being caught in a white neighborhood. There are packed segregated trains, the Black passengers clinging precariously to the outside of the cars in order to travel during rush hour, and overcrowded hospitals with Black patients in desperate need of treatment.
    When Cole finally published House of Bondage in 1967, the images shocked the world—as the artist knew they would. Ahead of the FOAM exhibition, Aperture reissued the book, introducing this first-person account of the everyday violence under apartheid to 21st-century audiences.
    See more photos from the exhibition below.
    Ernest Cole, from House of Bondage. It is against the law for black servants to live under the same roof as their employers. In a private home, servants would have a separate little room in the backyard. She lives on the edge of opulence, while her own world is bare. Newspapers are her carpet, fruit crates her chairs and table. Photo ©Ernest Cole, courtesy of Magnum Photos.
    Ernest Cole, from House of Bondage. Servants are not forbidden to love. The woman holding this child said: “I love this child, though she’ll grow up to treat me just like her mother does. Now she is innocent.” Photo ©Ernest Cole, courtesy of Magnum Photos.
    Ernest Cole, from House of Bondage. Acres of identical four-room houses on nameless streets. Many were hours by train from city jobs. Photo ©Ernest Cole, courtesy of Magnum Photos.
    Ernest Cole, from House of Bondage. Africans throng Johannesburg station platform during late afternoon rush hour. The train accelerates with its load of clinging passengers. They ride like this through rain and cold, some for the entire journey. Photo ©Ernest Cole, courtesy of Magnum Photos.
    Ernest Cole, from House of Bondage. With no room inside the train, some ride between cars. Which black train to take is a matter of guesswork. They have no destination signs and no announcement of arrivals is made. Head car may be numbered to show its route, but the number is often wrong. In confusion, passengers sometimes jump across tracks and some are killed by express trains. Whistle has sounded, train is moving, but people are still trying to get on. Photo ©Ernest Cole, courtesy of Magnum Photos.
    Ernest Cole, from House of Bondage. These boys were caught trespassing in a white area. Photo ©Ernest Cole, courtesy of Magnum Photos.
    “Ernest Cole: House of Bondage” is on view at FOAM, Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS Amsterdam, Netherlands, January 26–June 14, 2023. 
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    See Jaw-Dropping Portraits of Audrey Hepburn, David Bowie, and Other Icons in Fotografiska’s Starry Terry O’Neill Retrospective

    “Stars,” an exhibition of works by late British photographer Terry O’Neill, opens at New York’s Fotografiska in June with an eye on the celestial plane. Or something close enough: the 110 images, snapped between 1963 and 2013, sees O’Neill train his lens on earth’s biggest celebrities at work and at play—engaging in some cricket on break, lounging by the pool after winning an Oscar, commanding a stadium-sized audience. It’s proof finally that celebrities are, in fact, not like us.
    Born 1938 to Irish parents in Romford, Essex, O’Neill started his career in the technical photographic unit of an airline at London’s Heathrow Airport. He acquired an Agfa Silette camera to photograph people around the facilities for fun, and caught a picture of home secretary Rab Butler slumbering, “surrounded by a group of African chieftains dressed in full tribal regalia,” Fotografiska exhibition manager Phoebe Weinstein told Artnet News.
    That shot got O’Neill a job at the British tabloid Daily Sketch in 1959, where he documented Britain’s rising youth culture, befriending the Beatles and the Rolling Stones before they were big. He went on to accompany the likes of Elton John and David Bowie on tour—and married actress Faye Dunaway six years after iconically capturing the morning after her first Academy Award.
    O’Neill later switched to Leica, which he stuck with for most of his career. “The Leica was very important to me,” he once said. “It was a fabulous camera to use—quick as a flash, anywhere, any time.” With it, O’Neill immortalized boxing legend Muhammad Ali, filmmaker Spike Lee, and numerous players of James Bond through the ages. Though best known for his candid shots, his posed images do not lack for a looseness and spontaneity either.
    “Stars” marks O’Neill’s largest U.S. exhibition to date—and his first museum solo show in New York City. There, visitors can explore his work according to subject matter and theme. “There is a lot of crossover with the subjects that Terry photographed, but he was also very dedicated and close to certain subjects,” Weinstein said. “I believe the way the exhibition is organized reflects that.”
    And why now for an O’Neill retrospective? Well, Weinstein offered, excusing her pun, the stars at this moment have simply aligned.
    Preview some images from the show below.
    Audrey Hepburn plays cricket on the beach during a break from filming Stanley Donen’s film Two for the Road, 1966. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.
    Singer Janis Joplin singing ‘Little Girl Blue’ for the television show This is Tom Jones, December 4th, 1969. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.
    French actress Brigitte Bardot on the set of Les Petroleuses a.k.a. The Legend of Frenchie King, directed by Christian-Jaque in Spain, 1971. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images
    American musician Chuck Berry on stage with Keith Richards during the filming of Taylor Hackford’s documentary Hail! Hail! Rock n Roll, 1986. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.
    American film director Spike Lee in Tuscany, 1993. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.
    Musician David Bowie and actress Elizabeth Taylor meet for the first time at George Cukor’s house in Beverly Hills, 1974. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.
    Musician Elton John performing at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, October 1975. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.
    American actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in costume as brother and sister Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in George Lucas’s Star Wars trilogy, 1977. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.
    American actress Faye Dunaway sits by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, the morning after the Academy Awards ceremony, where she won a Best Actress Oscar for her part in Sidney Lumet’s Network, March 29, 1977. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.
    Singer Amy Winehouse poses for a portrait shoot during a concert honoring Nelson Mandela 90th birthday in Hyde Park, London, June 27, 2008. Photo: ©Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images.
    “Stars” will be on view at Fotografiska, 281 Park Ave South, New York, June 2 through September 16. 
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