Art World Abstracts: The Louvre Abu Dhabi Nabs a George Washington Portrait, and More

Gilbert Stuart, Portrait of George Washington. (Courtesy the Louvre Abu Dhabi)

Gilbert Stuart, Portrait of George Washington. (Courtesy the Louvre Abu Dhabi)

One would not usually go into the Middle Eastern outpost of the most storied French institution and expect to see a portrait of the first president of the United States of America. But nevertheless, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which will open in a Jean Nouvel-designed be-domed building later this fall, has acquired a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington from the Armand Hammer Foundation in Los Angeles. It shows the founding father sitting at a desk scribbling on a piece of paper, and will be installed next to a portrait of a triumphant Napoleon bounding over the Alps on a horse to go capture more of the continent, which is just so rich. [WSJ]

Blake Gopnik, a critic at artnet, claims to have “discovered” an “unknown” work “by” Warhol that should send all his biographers racing to the printing press to amend their books. Mr. Gopnik breathlessly describes how he took a train to Pittsburgh, races through the campus of Carnegie Mellon, scaled the steps to the archives, and had a staffer give him a box of old copies of the student newspaper Cano, where a boy named Andrew Warhola was an editor. Mr. Gopnik finds an unsigned doodle somewhere in the dusty pages, proclaims it to be a Warhol, and spends a few endless paragraphs intensely analyzing it inch by inch. Not to mention that it’s widely known that a college kid named Andrew Warhola worked on Cano while ditching classes, this is not some sort of glimpse into his later practice or anything, so you probably don’t have to mention a new Warhol catalog and say that you “feel guilty having to revise its completeness already.” Spending time in Pittsburgh, though—that is a real sacrifice. [artnet]

The Guardian‘s Stuart Jeffries gets so angry at beautiful, talented women like PJ Harvey, Tilda Swinton and Milla Jovovich because they put themselves in cubes and call it performance art. He also makes this rather unfortunate comment: “Perform, monkey boy, damn you, one feels like yelling at these artists.” I think the real problem here is apparent. [The Guardian]

Travis Jeppesen files a wonderful Scene & Herd from Oslo, where Bjarne Melgaard has a show with Edvard Munch at the Munch Museum. It contains this wonderful exchange:

Just then, Melgaard entered the room with his hot new boyfriend in tow. I asked him if he was happy to be back in Norway, his hjemland. He shrugged. “No way. I hate it. I’ve just given a billion interviews to journalists who keep asking the same stupid fucking questions over and over again.” That sucks. So, will you be giving a speech at the press conference today? “Haha. Sure. ‘Fuck you, Norway. I wish all of you DEAD.’ ”

And then Mr. Jeppesen calls him “the GG Allin of the art world, only he smells a lot nicer,” which just tickles me so. [Artforum]

Here’s Peter Schjeldahl on On Kawara at the Guggenheim: “Kawara’s art evokes a cosmic perspective, by which his own life and, by extension, the lives of us all register as a negligible spark in time. The pleasures afforded by his steady energy, superlative craft, and fastidious taste come and go, in flickers, within the pall of their monotony. Some art shows fill your spirit. This one empties you. You won’t forget it.” [The New Yorker]

And last, Montgomery County in Maryland—where I was born, if that matters to anyone—has approved a $372,993 tax break for Glenstone, the massive private museum founded by the collector Mitchell Rales. “Does the county want to levy heavy taxes on a museum as though it were the same thing as housing or commercial construction?” asked a councilman. “This is a social benefit we don’t want to create barriers to.” Glenstone is wonderful, and with this, everybody wins. Good job guys. [The Washington Post]

Art World Abstracts: The Louvre Abu Dhabi Nabs a George Washington Portrait, and More