Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hobby Lobby turns over 245 more artifacts smuggled out of Iraq

By Benjamin Sutton

On Wednesday, the arts and crafts chain store Hobby Lobby surrendered 245 cylinder seals that are believed to have been smuggled out of Iraq and were improperly imported into the US. This group of artifacts, which were handed over to prosecutors in New York, brings the total number of ancient objects seized from Hobby Lobby to 3,839, according to Newsweek. In July of last year, the company agreed to pay a $3 million fine and hand over 5,548 smuggled artifacts. “We have accepted responsibility and learned a great deal,” Hobby Lobby President Steve Green said in a statement at the time. Green is an evangelical Christian and the chairman of the recently opened Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, which is believed to have been the intended destination of the thousands of seized artifacts. [More]

Treasures of Japanese ways of faith on display

By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The evolution of Buddhist art in Japan is illustrated with sacred and historical statues, all part of an exhibition marking 130 years of diplomatic relations with Thailand.
Thailand shared its precious artifacts with Japan last year, and now it's our turn to see how Buddhism rose with the Rising Sun. More than 6,000 years of Japanese ways of life and religious beliefs are on view until February 18 at the National Museum Bangkok, in an exhibition that completes a long-planned cultural exchange between our countries. Like its predecessors – the “Land of Buddha” exhibitions of Thai artifacts that drew 200,000 visitors to museums in Tokyo and Kyushu – “The History of Japanese Art: Life and Faith” commemorates 130 years of diplomatic relations between the nations. [More]

Monday, January 22, 2018

That obscure, unattainable object of desire: your own art

By Gia Kourlas
Left, Dean Moss; and, right, a costume detail from “Petra,” Mr. Moss’s new performance work, a blend of dance, theater, video and audience participation.
Desire and power, the New York performance scene, the Hindu goddess Chinnamasta and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” are all mixed into Dean Moss’s latest performative stew, “Petra.” Mr. Moss, 63, finds parallels between the film and his life as a director and choreographer. As he put it, “That process where you never attain what your desire is became something that I was interested in.” For “Petra,” which opens at Performance Space New York — formerly Performance Space 122 — on Jan. 23 as part of the 2018 Coil Festival, Mr. Moss has assembled an all-star cast of women whose members were chosen in part for their presence in New York’s performance world. (The Fassbinder film, from 1972, also features an all-female cast.) [More]

Art Review: African masterpieces with the grace of Kings

By Jason Farago
Crests are more than artistic accomplishments; they are avatars of kingship, embodying law and order. Credit Vincent Tullo for The New York Times
NEW YORK---One extraordinary example opened recently in the museum’s African wing. It contains just four works, by artists whose identity cannot be established (plus one bonus item), but they pack enough stunning technique and transcendent authority for a blockbuster of their own. In “The Face of Dynasty: Royal Crests From Western Cameroon,” you’ll find a quartet of massive wooden crowns, known as tsesah crests, that served as avatars of kingship among the dozens of small monarchies of the Bamileke people in the grasslands of northwest Cameroon, near the contemporary border with Nigeria. [More]

Sunday, January 21, 2018


By Gregory & Ernest Disney-Britton
Art & Soul poster designed by Indianapolis artist Cuong Tran
Black History Month is around the corner, and we're ready for Afrofuturism. It is an arts movement that calls forward God seekers to a new place of equality and belonging. Three noted Afrofuturists are Sun Ra, Octavia Bulter, and Mshindo Kuumba. The aesthetic is multicultural, transhistorical, and combines elements of religion, African history, and science fiction. Cuong Tran, an Afro-Asian artist, was selected to create the poster design for an Indianapolis program featuring four artists, modern dancer Lauren Curry, spoken-word artist Too Black, storyteller Ryan Bennett, and ceramicist Gary Gee. Against a backdrop of African drums, gospel, and poetry, join Indy's Afrofuturists at "Art & Soul" on Sat., Jan. 27, 12:15 pm.