The star power at the 11th Havana Biennale is palpable. With some 180 artists from 45 countries drawing visitors from as far afield as New York's MoMA and the Tate Modern, the month-long, city-spanning festival which was founded in 1984, and runs through June 11, is drawing its biggest foreign crowds—and biggest-name artists—to date. At Castilo de Fuerza, the oldest standing Spanish fort in the Americas, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov unveiled the seventh iteration of their globetrotting Ship of Tolerance that's employed children from Siwa to Miami to Havana to paint sails displaying their interpretations of tolerance. Marina Abramovic was in town to screen and discuss Matthew Akers's documentary, The Artist is Present, about her eponymous MoMA retrospective. "I can't look at it, I cry every time," she said in a men's dressing room backstage at the Miramar Theater.
Last Wednesday, some 300 people—including a "confused but thrilled" Catholic newspaper reporter who vowed to return with her congregation—packed into London's Lisson Gallery to view Christian Jankowski's latest project "Casting Jesus" [through Oct. 1]. Shot in a ward at Rome's Complesso Santo Spirito hospital, Jankowski enlisted 13 actors (instead of Jesus and his 12 apostles) to vie for a role as Christ the Savior. The holy honor was selected by a three-judge panel put together by the Vatican-José Manuel del Rio Carrasco; Sandro Barbagallo, art critic at the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano; and journalist Massimo Giraldi, Secretary of the Commission for Film Classification of the Italian Bishop Conference. During the course of the video this trio had the inspired task of narrowing the field from 13 to six to three to the chosen one.
Philadelphia is especially a city of brotherly love when it comes to supporting artists working in public sculpture. Since 1959, the city's Percent for Art Ordinance has provided revenue for 300 public projects. Claes Oldenburg recently received a $1.5 million grant from the city for Paint Torch, a 51-foot tall, 11,000-pound rendering of a turned-over paintbrush-cum-torch that was installed Saturday at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts' new $7.5 million Lenfest Plaza, which officially opens October 1 with a ceremonial lighting of the piece.
2012, aluminum, wood, sublimation print on polyester and concrete, 71 3/4 by 122 1/2 by 135 inches overall. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New Yor