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Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic organisation has named four US cities to receive up to $1m to fund temporary public art projects.

Bloomberg Philanthropies first Public Art Challenge Grant asked cities with a population of more than 30,000 to submit proposals for projects that involve artists, arts organisations and the local government while also addressing civic issues.

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On Sunday, February 1, 2015, the 61st iteration of the inimitable Winter Antiques Show drew to a close at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Over the course of the ten-day event, collectors, first-time buyers, museum curators, interior designers, and dealers, took to the show floor to browse and snap up fine art, furniture, and decorative objects from antiquity through the 1960s (Fig. 1).

The show kicked off on Thursday, January 22, 2015, with an Opening Night Preview Party that welcomed nearly 2,000 attendees, including Martha Stewart, Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor, Arie and Coco Kopelman, Ellie Cullman, Thomas Jayne, Bunny Williams and John Rosselli, Sandra Nunnerley, and John Douglas Eason. The Preview Party, which benefited the East Side House Settlement, a community-based organization in the South Bronx, gave guests an opportunity to peruse and purchase works before the show opened to the public on Friday, January 23, 2015.

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Bloomberg Philanthropies, the nonprofit founded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, has announced that it will award at least three cities in the United States up to $1 million each over two years as part of its new Public Art Challenge. The funds will support temporary public art projects that engage communities, enhance creativity, and enrich the vibrancy of cities. Bloomberg Philanthropies is asking mayors or chief executives in cities with 30,000 or more residents to submit proposals for innovative temporary public art projects that demonstrate close collaboration between artists, or arts organizations, and city government. Submissions for visual and performing arts, including multimedia installations, will be considered.  

The Bloomberg Philanthropies grant will cover development, execution, and project related expenditures, but it will not fund all project costs. The organization hopes that the endeavor will help cities create strong, committed consortiums of arts supporters while fostering public-private partnerships between local government and other funders.

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Bloomberg Philanthropies, the nonprofit founded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced that it is expanding its funding for cultural institutions’ digital projects. The foundation is committing $17 million to six museums to help increase visitor engagement and education through innovative technology tools. The recipients of the expanded grant program are the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the Brooklyn Museum (New York), the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum (New York), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gardens by the Bay (Singapore), and the Science Museum (London).   

The latest round of funding will support a spate of new technologies.

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Since 2012, the New York Public Library has received considerable criticism stemming from its plan to renovate its landmark building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. On Wednesday, April 16, the backlash continued when a group of scholars filed a lawsuit stating that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration approved the renovation project without fully evaluating its environmental impact.

The lawsuit argues that the project was approved the same day that the library submitted its application, which did not allow for an adequate assessment of the effects of the renovation. The suit asks the court to annul the approval and assign the matter to the City Council or another agency.

Initially, the New York Public Library planned to clear out the book stacks in the century-old back portion of its building, which would require relocating over three million volumes to a storage space under Bryant Park as well as another facility in Princeton, NJ. In July 2013, a group of historians and preservationists filed a lawsuit asking library officials and the project’s architect, Norman Foster, to reconsider their plan. The group also filed an application to have the library’s iconic Rose Main Reading Room landmarked in order to protect the book stacks. When the city approved the library’s proposal in December 2013, it demanded that the library develop a plan to protect the reading room and create an historical record of any book stacks that could be demolished in the renovation. The library has been working with Foster to create a new design that would retain the reading room and the book stacks. The plan has not yet been released.

Two lawsuits aiming to halt the renovation are still pending.

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Thursday, 11 October 2012 17:29

Frieze Art Fair Kicks Off in London

Committed to showcasing the best in contemporary art, the The Frieze Art Fair decided to mix things up in honor of its tenth anniversary. Taking place from October 11 –14, the fair will exhibit ancient works at the simultaneous inaugural show, Frieze Masters. The fair will feature 96 galleries offering works from the last 4,000 years. While the inclusion of non-contemporary work encourages crossover collecting, it also allows patrons to explore the past’s influence on contemporary art.

Between the Frieze Masters’ exhibitors and the 175 contemporary galleries participating in the fair, there will be a total of $1.5 billion worth of art in London’s Regent’s Park. After last night’s exclusive VIP preview, it seems that collectors are anxious to buy.

One of the first pieces to sell at the fete was Pablo Picasso’s Homme et Femme au Bouquet priced at $8.5 million. An unidentified U.S.-based collector snapped up the painting at Frieze Masters. Over at the contemporary fair, Paul McCartney’s 2012 mixed-media sculpture, White Snow Head, sold within the first ten minutes of the preview for $1.3 million.

Attracting thousands of visitors from around the world including big name collectors such as Martha Stewart, PPR chief executive officer Francois-Henri Pinault, and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, it will be interesting to see the effect the fair’s widened scope will have on sales.

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