The Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome have been closed for a five-year restoration, but it was worth the wait. Most articles announcing the unveiling include a photo gallery/slide show showing details of the restoration. Better still: visit Catacombe di Priscilla in Google Maps, where you experience the site courtesy of Street View.
The most discussed topic from the restoration concerns the restored frescoes in a room known as the Cubiculum of the Veiled Woman, which depict “the earliest known image of the Madonna with Child — and frescoes said by some to show women priests in the early Christian church.” Another interesting observation: “She wears what the catacombs’ Italian website calls ‘a rich liturgical garment’. The word ‘liturgical’ does not appear in the English version.”
The three guest curators of the 2014 Whitney Biennial—Stuart Comer (Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art, MoMA), Anthony Elms (Associate Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia), and Michelle Grabner (Artist and Professor, Painting and Drawing Department, School of the Art Institute, Chicago)—have announced the artists who will participate in next year’s exhibition. Each curator will oversee installations on one floor, “representing a range of geographic vantages and curatorial methodologies….This can be seen in [the curators'] choice of artists working in interdisciplinary ways, artists working collectively, and artists from a variety of generations. Together, the 103 participants offer one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years.”
This Biennial will be the last in the Whitney Museum’s current building at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street; the museum will relocate to its new, Renzo Piano designed building in Spring 2015.
The annual Solar Decathalon has just concluded and the winning team is Team Austria – a group of students from the Vienna University of Technology. Their design (LISI – Living Inspired by Sustainability Innovation) competed with 18 other entrants in the 10 day event, held this year in Irvine, CA. The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more about the house and its net-positive energy efficient design at ArchDaily.
Antoni Gaudí, who began Barcelona’s cathedral of Sagrada Família in the 1880s and spent the rest of his life increasingly invested in its completion, was unable to see it happen in his lifetime. Indeed, the project continues to this day and is projected to be finished by 2026 (the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s untimely death). However, with the help of this video, we can now visualize the remaining building phases that will complete the project.
Andrew Romano’s Daily Beast essay Trading Modernist for McMansion addresses the issue that a “certain kind of modernist property—namely, a lesser-known house situated on a prime lot in an expensive neighborhood—is still at risk” in Los Angeles neighborhoods like Beverly Hills and Bel Air.
Various sources report that a construction company in Belize has razed most of the 2,300-year-old Nohmul temple. Only one small section of the Mayan temple core remains standing (picture at left). The company was apparently gathering crushed rock for a road project.
The team at the Media Center for Art History at Columbia University have, over the past five years, put together a wonderful catalogue of photos, drawings, and plans of French Gothic architecture. The site, Mapping Gothic France, lets the end user explore the content through the dimensions of Space, Time and Narrative. The site also includes interactive maps, panoramas, and plans that show the angle and position of each photo. And – the tools allow the user to do building comparisons (e.g. by nave height, aisle width, floor plan, elevation, and more). A really wonderful use of new technologies.
The Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz now hosts an online catalogue of their significant collection of drawings, watercolors, gouaches and prints by the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841). The project, Das Erbe Schinkels (Schinkel’s Legacy) contains almost 6,500 entries. Users can search either in English or German, including Iconclass and bibliography keywords. The project, developed in part with the exhibition Karl Friedrich Schinkel. History and Poetry (7 September 2012 – 6 January 2013 at Kupferstichkabinett im Kulturforum, Berlin), also aims to fit works within both a timeline of Schinkel’s artistic techniques and preferred materials as well as the broader issue of long-term user access.
The Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence announced the reopening of its main chapel with the completion of its extensive restoration. If you find yourself in Florence within the next year, the scaffolding used for the restoration remains and visitors can have a rare opportunity to see upper registers up close. However, even those of us who won’t be traveling to Italy soon can still view the before/during/after process of the restoration on the basilica’s website, along with previous projects. The software used to digitally document the work, Modus Operandi, allows users to zoom in on details of Angolo Gaddi’s brushwork from the 1380s as well as the restoration.