Art news / 15 – 21 August

This week in art – tell us the news stories that caught your attention in the comments.

1. An exhibition (Alphabets, Letters & Numbers) of Peter Blake’s three series: Alphabet (1991), An Alphabet (2007) and Appropriated Alphabets (2013) has gone on display at the De La Warr Pavilion in Buxhill On Sea, Sussex. Blake’s series – exploring his fascination with pop culture, typography and imagery – is part of the De La Warr’s programme of exhibitions exploring language, typography and design; featuring other artists such as Willem Sanberg and Fiona Banner.

Alphabets, Letters & Numbers will be on display until Sunday 27 November, entry is free. (The style is not dissimilar to the at of street artist Ben Eine’s who’s letters famously cover shop shutters and walls in East London.)

2. In an uncommon decision, Californian Judge John Walter ruled on August 15th that the family of Dutch collector Jacques Goudstikker were not the rightful owners of the pair of legendary paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder – Adam and Eve (1530) – and instead ruled in favor of the Norton Simon Museum. Jewish collector Jacques Goudstikker had been made to sell them to Nazi leader Herman Göring during the Nazi occupation of the Nethrlands (where Goudstikker had fled to try to escape them). “There’s no disputing the actual provenance,” E. Randol Schoenberg, a lawyer for Von Saher, told TAN. “If these paintings never go back, there’s a real problem in how we deal with Nazi-looted art.”

Saher is currently planning an appeal. (via Art Net)

3. Damien Hirst’s series The Last Supper (1990) has gone one show at The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., for the first time ever. Hirst’s 13 print series explores the role of faith in regards to medicine, art and religion (13 refers to the number of people gathered at the biblical Last Supper). The imposing prints in The Last Supper feature subverted pharmaceutical labels; where the names of medicines have been replaced by traditional British meals – Ethambutol Hydrochloride becomes “Steak and Kidney,” for example. He ponders “why some people believe completely in medicine and not in art, without questioning either.” The exhibition will run through the year until 17 January 2017.

4. Cecilia Gimenez, now 85; the elderly Spanish widow who famously tried to restore a celebrated fresco – Ecce Homo – in the church of a small town called Borja and famously botched the job will be the subject of an opera. The incident immediately went viral in 2012, and Gimenez has gone from being ridiculed to celebrated as the ‘restored’ fresco now attracts 170,000 visitors a year to the small town.

The events have been turned into an opera written by Andrew Flack, the American playwright, along with composer Paul Fowler. Flack says, “It’s a hybrid, it has music from Bach, Gregorian chants, and then it has some numbers that sound like Lady Gaga or Frank Sinatra.” In regards to Gimenez feelings regarding the incident, Flack added, “Now she feels like it’s a miracle.” (via Art Daily)

5. One of America’s most notorious pop artists, Jeff Koons, has been named as the artist at the heart of a multi-million dollar lawsuit, the artwork in question being Koon’s Gazing Ball (Centaur and Lapith Maiden).

Old Masters art dealer, Fabrizio Moretti, has filed an amended lawsuit (from $2 million to $6 million) against art dealer David Zwiner. The amended complaint states that at the heart of the issue is Zwirner had promised Moretti the second work in an edition of three-plus-an-artist’s-proof; but instead tried to sell him “the last of the numbered casts more than two years later with other casts receiving different numbers or dubbed ‘prototypes.’

However a spokeswoman for David Zwiner told artnet, “The lawsuit is entirely meritless. The gallery had already moved to dismiss the case and the recent amended allegations are also absolutely baseless. The client has declined delivery of the artwork, which is completed and ready for pickup. Unfortunately he has been attempting to use the court system as a negotiating tactic.”