Worth a read: When a masterpiece is just a painting — and death by bagpipe

News, buzz and assorted cultural chatter that caught our eye recently:

• The strange tale of Peter Doig is surely one of the most bizarre art stories of late. Imagine having to prove you did NOT paint a painting. Doig, a prominent Scottish painter whose canvases have fetched $25 million at auction,  faced a  lawsuit after he refused to authenticate a 40-year-old painting that a former Canadian corrections officer claimed the now-famous Doig had painted.  The sorted case had Doig and his legal team faced with having to prove the painter did not paint the painting. Bizarre, fascinating and laughable if it hadn’t made it all the way to federal court. Thankfully, Doig won. (via The New York Times)

24DOIG-master768
The painting formally almost attributed to Peter Doig.

 

Thomas Kiefer spent 11 years as a janitor at a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility. Unsettled by the personal items left behind by or taken from apprehended immigrants, Kiefer began taking pictures. His carefully sorted and photographed the items in compelling pictures of the once-private stuff: belts, shoelaces, toothbrushes, socks,  underwear, watches, bibles, rosaries, cell phones, keys, jewellery, calling-cards, soap, deodorant, birth control pills.  Kiefer’s series “El sueno Americano” (The American Dream) is potent, heartfelt, timely.

Soap is considered non-essential personal property this is disposed of during intake. © Thomas Kiefer
Soap is considered non-essential personal property and disposed of during intake. © Thomas Kiefer

 

• I feel you. A new study found that reading literary fiction — writers like Salman Rushdie, Harper Lee and Toni Morrison — helps improve readers’ understanding of other people’s emotions. Genre fiction readers? Not so much. (via The Guardian)

The Walking Library, London, ca. 1930s
The Walking Library, London, ca. 1930s

Coming to the Mall soon. Architecture News offers a good first look at the just-completed National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. designed by David Adjaye.

david-adjaye-national-museum-african-american-history-culture-washington-dc_dezeen_ss

• Bagpipe lung: Doctors were stumped by the cause of lung disease in an English man who died in 2014. Until they took a closer look at his bagpipe-playing passion. “It sounds like a Monty Python skit or an Agatha Christie story gone wrong,” said one doctor. (via The Washington Post)

1911 wood engraving of Scottish bagpipe player
1911 wood engraving of Scottish bagpipe player

 

• ICYMI: Some of our recent arts coverage, in case you didn’t catch it.

Lost coins, a lost cast — sly installations debut at Laguna Gloria

Mad music boxes and half-goat men: Austin-based artist Yuliya Lanina’s dark and off-beat fairy tales

Capital T celebrates 10 years of edgy theater in Austin

HB_Missing_Truffaut_02_300ppi (2)
Detail of “Missing Truffaut” by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler. On the grounds of Laguna Gloria, the street lamp and missing cat poster features a phone number with a message.

Author: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. She writes about visual art, theater, dance, music, performance, public art, architecture and just about any combination thereof.

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