Artist Alfred Leslie Dies at 95—and More Art News –

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The Headlines

ARTIST ALFRED LESLIE, whose rule-breaking work spans the entire history of postwar American art, died on Friday at the age of 95, William Grimes reports in the New York Times. Born in the Bronx, Leslie studied with Tony Smith at NYU, was an artist’s model for Reginald Marsh’s classes, and showed his Abstract-Expressionist paintings at the fabled “Ninth Street Show” in 1951. He also created experimental films—1959’s Pull My Daisy, with Robert Frank , most famously—and made a controversial break with abstraction in the early 1960s, to instead produce figurative portraits that are often grand in scale, imposing in tone, and even a bit menacing. Explaining that shift to Art Papers in 2002, in an interview quoted by the Times, Leslie said that he thought that if “I could tackle something that was wholly discredited and show that there was some tiny glimpse of value in it while making beautiful work, this would be a wonderful accomplishment.”

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Portrait of Alberto Giacometti smiling at the camera.

RETURNS ON INVESTMENT. In the 1960s, artist John Craxton bought a chandelier in a London shop for £250, suspecting that it was the work of artist Alberto Giacometti. He was correct, the Guardian reports, and that piece is now headed to auction at Christie’s with a high estimate of £2.5 million ($3.1 million)—and hopes that it could fetch far more. That is impressive, but in raw dollars, the National Gallery of Australia has an even bigger success story. As some art-history types may recall, it drew controversy back in 1973 when it bought Jackson Pollock‘s Blue Poles (1952) for A$1.3 million. The museum recently updated its valuation of that masterpiece, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, and determined that it is now worth a cool A$500 million (US$354 million). To the billionaires now reading: Do not get any ideas. The painting is not for sale.

The Digest

Photographer George Zimbel, who took unforgettable images of nightlife and everyday life, as well as celebrated snaps of Marilyn Monroe and President John F. Kennedy, has died at the age of 93. [The New York Times]

For its 15th-anniversary edition, the Dallas Art Fair has tapped 88 galleries, including PerrotinVarious Small Fires, and Night Gallery. [ARTnews]

A Canadian artist, Sam Kerson, has been pursuing a suit against a Vermont law school for covering murals he made, which it says some view as racially offensive. Kerson argues that violates the Visual Artists Rights Act‘s prohibition on the modification or destruction of an artwork; the school says it has done neither. An appeals court will rule. [The Associated Press]

The CoBrA movement is hot, Victoria Woodcock reports. Among its fans: artist Robert Nava, who said that he loves its “sincerity in the return to the basics, in search of newness.” [Financial Times]

After serving as interim director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, New York, on three separate occasions, Scott Propeack has been named its director. At the museum, he has also been a registrar, associate curator, collections and exhibitions manager, chief curator, and deputy director. [The Buffalo News]

The Museum of Modern Art‘s Meret Oppenheim retrospective—which earned a rave review from Alex Greenberger in ARTnews—was featured on CBS. “I find it very moving how steadfast she was in always wanting to reinvent herself,” the show’s curator, Anne Umland, said. “You can walk through the show and see countless different ideas on the wall, but it’s all her.” [CBS News Sunday Morning]

The sixth Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh will open next month sans private views or a VIP lounge. “It’s a festival, so everyone has to come, leave and hang out together,” cofounder Nadia Samdani said. She and her husband, Rajeeb, are also building a cultural center called Srihatta in the city of Sylhet. [Financial Times]

The Kicker

DOWN THE DRAIN. Archaeologists excavating a Roman bath in Carlisle, England, have found semi-precious stones that apparently fell out of bathers’ rings around the third century, the Guardian reports. That must have been traumatic. Of course, they could have taken off their jewelry before hopping into the water, but then they would have risked a thief making off with it. So-called “curse tablets” addressed to such evildoers have been found at Roman baths elsewhere in the country, the Guardian notes. One declares that a person will “have all intestines quite eaten away if he has stolen the ring.” Seems painful. No, thank you. [The Guardian]

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