UT-Dallas Art History Professor's Video Maps Artists' Movements Across History

Categories: Arts

The blue lines show the births of famous cultural figures, the red lines show their deaths.

A recent video compilation of a UT-Dallas professor's research is making the Internet rounds. The film charts complex mathematical data to show where 150,000 "notable individuals" in art history have been born and died. That includes artists, architects, actors and other leaders in cultural history.

The information has one glaring bias : It's incredibly Eurocentric. The data tracks the movements of western European artists for the last 2,000 years and shows where they've migrated throughout history. Blue dots represent births, red dots represent deaths.

Dr. Maximilian Schich, the art history professor and human mobility specialist who authored the study, says the kind of migratory data that was required for the study simply doesn't exist yet outside of western European artists. His study disclaimed and discussed the bias, which is partly why it was accepted into Science magazine this summer.

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Artist Who Inspired Sulphur Springs' Glass Bathroom Says the Texas Town Stole Her Work

Categories: Arts

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Flickr user nsmithtnz
The locals take in Sulphur Springs' glass bathroom, made entirely of one-way mirrors.
In December 2003, across the street from London's Tate Britain museum, artist Monica Bonvicini debuted her latest installation. Titled "Don't Miss a Sec," it was a public toilet inside a cube of one-way mirrors. The bathroom user could gaze out upon the passing museum goers and see the construction workers milling about, but they couldn't see inside. It was, among other things, a way for Bonvicini to challenge how people interact with their surroundings.

A decade later, Bonvicini was horrified to learn that the city of Sulphur Springs had constructed a knockoff version of "Don't Miss a Sec" and plunked it down next to the oversize chess set on the town square. The copy is completely faithful to the original, save for the addition of a steel frame and heating and air conditioning, which the city manager bragged about on local TV.

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"Playboy Marfa," the Magazine's Art Installation on Highway 90, Must Be Removed, State Says

Categories: Arts

The piece, as it was unveiled by Playboy.
Since it went up in late June, the giant Playboy logo alongside U.S. Highway 90 has stopped passersby and sparked debate in Marfa, the West Texas tourist town known for its modernist flair.

Now it has to come down, the state says.

The Texas Department of Transportation has ordered Playboy to remove the massive bunny within 45 days, since the company doesn't have a permit to advertise there and couldn't get one if it wanted. Playboy says it's art and plans to fight the order.

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The Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic Really, Really Hates the Perot Museum

Categories: Arts, Media

Flickr user brettchisum
Locals and outsiders alike have been heaping praise upon the Perot Museum of Nature & Science since it opened in December, not just on the dizzying array of interactive exhibit halls but on the building itself. It was designed by architect Thom Mayne to be both a natural outgrowth of the North Texas prairie from which it arises, just like the xeriscaped landscape on its roof, and a conscious reflection of the powerful forces, natural and man-made, represented inside. Most have argued that Mayne succeeded.

See also: Previewing the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, from A to Z

The Architectural Review called it an "eloquent paean to the cosmic and geological forces that shape our planet and building." ArchDaily praised the building for its "immersive architectural and natural environment" and seamless connection with the city.

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Wendy Reves' $400 Million Collection Belongs to the Dallas Museum of Art, Judge Affirms

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"Portrait of Mrs. Wendy Reves" by Graham Sutherland, 1978
In 1985, the Dallas Museum of Art accepted one of the largest gifts in the institution's history: more than 1,400 pieces by Van Gogh, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, and others from the personal collection of Wendy Reves, collectively valued at more than $400 million.

A quarter century later and four years after Reves' death, the gift was challenged in federal court by Arnold Leon Schroeder Jr., Reves' only son, who was born before Reves divorced her first husband, launched a career as a jet-setting model, took up with writer and publisher Emery Reves and started a world-class art collection.

Emery Reves, Schroeder claimed in the suit, had intended to turn Villa La Pausa, the couple's French estate, originally built for Coco Chanel, into a public museum. Instead, Reves, "by now a lonely widow and chronic alcoholic," was persuaded by the "Texas charm and flattery" of three DMA board members to disregard Emery's wishes and donate the collection to the DMA. (To its credit, the museum did build a 16,500-square-foot replica of Villa La Pausa specifically to house the art.)

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Dallas Plans to Remove Robert Irwin's Long-Neglected "Portal Park Piece" From Downtown

Flickr user steevithak
By now, it's barely recognizable as a piece of art: an eight-foot-tall ribbon of rusted steel scrawled with obscene graffiti, running through an obscure stretch of grassland on the eastern edge of downtown. It fades into the background now, ignored by commuters and passersby.

That wasn't the original vision when Robert Irwin, a rather famous installation artist, unveiled the piece in 1981 after receiving a commission from the Southland Corporation (e.g. 7-Eleven) with an assist from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Irwin, a former Guggenheim fellow who would soon become the first artist to receive a five-year MacArthur Fellowship, called it "Portal Park Piece (Slice)," and that's what it was meant to be: a portal. An entrance to downtown.

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Glenn Beck Is Producing A Fourth of July Spectacular, Narrated By the Man in the Moon

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When last we heard from Southlake resident, event planner and patriotic pants designer Glenn Beck, he had just announced his plans for a $2 billion libertarian community, which he's dubbed Independence, USA. Will Independence be located in Texas? Can a theme park designed by Beck and David Barton possibly be any fun? Is this what happens when you persistently roll up and smoke pages torn from Atlas Shrugged? We don't know the answers to any of those questions just yet. Except the last one, which: yes.

As Right Wing Watch points out this morning, Beck made one other announcement while outlining his plans for Independence, an announcement which we really didn't give the rapt attention it deserved at the time. Namely, Beck plans to produce a live Fourth of July show, told from the perspective of the man in the moon. The man in the moon, as you may have guessed, loves America.

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Museum Tower's Latest Salvo in Battle with Nasher Features Danny Glover and Is Pretty Bizarre

Categories: Arts, Development

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It's safe to say that Museum Tower is losing its public relations battle against the Nasher Sculpture Center. The Nasher has marshaled support from the city's business and civic elite, successfully casting its neighbor as some hyper-phallic monstrosity bent on scorching anything in its path, while Museum Tower has a handful of teary-eyed residents and Jim.

That might explain the post that showed up on Museum Tower's website last week, but then again, it's pretty inexplicable.

"Museum Tower Prominently Displayed at Nasher, 2008," it announces before directing readers' attention to a truly baffling slideshow featuring a dozen grainy, mostly out-of-focus images featuring well-dressed Nasher supporters standing in front of, and occasionally pointing at, a rendering of the not-yet-built Museum Tower. Like this one:

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The Arts Need Money, Part 6,757

Categories: Arts, City Hall

When the budget ax falls at City Hall, the Office of Cultural Affairs is an easy target, because no matter how much economic impact the arts claim to generate, trimming grants to niche cultural groups is a lot easier than firing police and firefighters.

The department is designed to cope with this by leveraging private dollars to extend the impact of its official budget, which is around $20 million. But OCA's advisory arm, the Cultural Affairs Commission, is looking to further buffer itself from the city's budgetary whims.

On Wednesday, the commission will have the first meeting of its Sustainability Task Force, sustainability in this instance being a term-of-art among nonprofits referring to an organization's ability to survive.

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White Rock Lake is Garbage: Photos of Litter-Choked Lake Will Hang at City Hall

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Dylan Hollingsworth
You don't have to look terribly hard to find garbage at White Rock Lake: Plastic grocery bags, water bottles, plastic foam cups, lots and lots of beer cans, other stuff. It's so common it fades from consciousness, becomes part of the landscape, except of course when it becomes the entire landscape.

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