Artist Richard Prince didn't infringe photo copyrights: U.S. court

In a closely watched case in the art world, American artist Richard Prince won a federal appeals court order Thursday holding that he did not infringe the copyrights of a photographer by incorporating his images into 25 paintings and collages.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed a lower court's finding that Prince must hand over artwork using the photos to Patrick Cariou, whose pictures of Rastafarians in Jamaica were incorporated into art, exhibited in 2007 and 2008.

 

"These twenty-five of Prince's artworks manifest an entirely different aesthetic from Cariou's photographs," U.S. Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote.

The court battle has been considered a test to what extent the appropriation of artists' works is protected from claims of copyright infringement.

The appeal drew friend-of-the-court briefs from a wide range of parties, from the Whitney Museum of American Art to Google Inc, which warned the lower court's ruling deviated from standard copyright analysis in "dangerous" ways.

The ruling is a "huge win for Richard Prince and an entire genre of modern art," said Anthony Falzone, a lawyer for The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which filed a brief backing Prince.

"It recognizes the broad range of meaning that artists create by incorporating existing images into their work," he said.

Prince is a prominent appropriation artist and photographer whose works have appeared in New York's Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Joshua Schiller, a lawyer for Prince at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, said his client was pleased with Thursday's ruling.

Cariou sued Price and the Gagosian Gallery in December 2008 after learning about a show held at the gallery featuring 22 works from a series Prince titled Canal Zone. Thirty of the pieces Prince created for the series incorporated all or part of photos by Cariou that appeared in a 2000 book, "Yes Rasta."

Some of Prince's works sold for more than $2 million. He sold eight for $10.5 million and traded seven others for works by painter Larry Rivers and sculptor Richard Serra, according to the appeals court decision.

Prince argued that his use of the photographs was protected under the theory of fair use, saying his work was "transformative."

Thursday's ruling reverses an order by U.S. District Court Deborah Batts in Manhattan, who had concluded that Prince was not protected from liability because his paintings did not "comment on" or critically refer back to the original works.

Daniel Brooks, a lawyer for Cariou at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, said he believed the court got the law wrong "in a number of ways," and said he was considering his options.

He said the ruling does not provide any guidance for future cases to figure out if an artist violates copyright laws through appropriation.

"It just seems somewhat subjective," he said.

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The appeals court sent the dispute over five of Prince's works back to the trial court to determine whether some alterations were enough to avoid a finding of infringement.

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Hollis Gonerka Bart, a lawyer for the Gagosian Gallery and owner Larry Gagosian, said the case will now likely proceed as a trial on the five remaining works. Her client intends to "defend vigorously" itself, she said.

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(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Richard Chang)

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Painter Mark Rothko's Latvian hometown opens centre for his art

Modernist painter Mark Rothko's hometown in Latvia devoted a new centre to the late artist's work on Wednesday.

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The Mark Rothko Arts Centre opened in the eastern town of Daugavpils, the Baltic country's second biggest city, with six paintings from the private collection of the artist's daughter and son, who were present at the launch.

The exhibition is the first permanent Rothko installation in eastern Europe.

"This centre, I think, is going to become an important archive, an important resource for Rothko scholars to draw on, and also for Rothko's public," son Christopher Rothko told a news conference.

Rothko was born in 1903 in Daugavpils, when Latvia was part of the Russian Empire and the town was known as Dvinsk.

His parents emigrated to the United states when he was 10 and he later became one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century. He killed himself in 1970.

The new centre is located in the historic premises of Daugavpils fortress. The centre was mainly funded with European Union funds.

Auction house Christie's said on its website that its Rothko sale in May 2012 was a world auction record for any contemporary work of art.

(Reporting by Aija Braslina, editing by Patrick Lannin and Paul Casciato)

Russia's new Mariinsky theatre woos the doubters

Enlisting the drama of Prokofiev and the elegance of Tchaikovsky, St Petersburg's new Mariinsky theatre staged a gala opening on Thursday designed to silence critics of the starkly modernist building erected in the heart of Russia's imperial capital.

The $700-million glass and limestone building, which critics have dubbed the "Mariinsky mall", glowed in the night sky, its glass and metal walkways humming with excited voices as the select crowd of 2,000 found their seats.

Just opposite, across a canal, the 19th century original opera house, one of the great showcases of Russian culture which became home to the Kirov opera and ballet companies in Soviet times, stood silent for the evening.

"We need breathe life into the theatre. We want it to live, so that people are attracted and can feel the charm of modern technology. Then it will shine in all its glory," President Vladimir Putin told the guests, who included leading Russian businessmen.

Calling the Mariinsky by its affectionate short name Mariinka, Putin said the theatre had always preserved the best traditions of the Russian arts, never losing "its shine".

"Seven hundred and sixty performances a year! And each one is world class. No artistic team in the world does that."

Putin praised Valery Gergiev, director of the Mariinsky and regarded by many as the greatest living orchestral conductor, for pursuing a project that had been conceived just before Russia's financial crash of 1998.

"In 2003, Gergiev raised the issue again and a new project arose," Putin said, referring to a decision made after he became president in 2000.

The Mariinsky II is one of several grand projects sponsored by Putin intended to show what Russia can achieve, most notably the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

SEE INSIDE

Gergiev, whose 60th birthday coincided with the gala, had been criticized for commissioning a sleek, modern building which some say sits awkwardly among its pastel colored 19th-century neighbors.

But in the end only two people protested outside. One of them, a woman, held a banner mocking Gergiev's recent "Hero of Labour" award received from Putin on Wednesday, suggesting the conductor should either pull down the building or hand back the medal.

The conductor, a loyal ally of Putin, had shrugged off the criticism, saying the Mariinsky needed a new stage and state-of-the-art technology to produce the kind of theatre people expected to see today.

"People asked why do we need new architecture? Why does St Petersburg need a new opera house? I think the best way to answer those questions is simply to let people come in," he told a news conference.

Many guests were impressed. Light bounced off wall panels made of Italian onyx that stretch several storeys high and the sound was excellent.

"I like the theatre and I liked the concert. It's a contemporary theatre with great potential," said former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. "I love theatres and have been in many great theatres in different corners of the world. I think it is worthy of becoming one of them."

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The simple light wood of the balconies and aisles was a world away from the original Mariinsky Theatre, which was sumptuously decorated in gold and red. Only the VIP box in the Mariinsky II has a slight nod to extravagance - a modern chandelier to make prominent guests feel at home.

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The gala opened with a dramatic excerpt from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet ballet and included the coronation scene from Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov, when the vast stage swarmed with peasants.

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Ulyana Lopatkina and Viktor Baranov danced "Pavlova and Cecchetti" to Tchaikovsky and Placido Domingo sang a Wagner aria in front of an audience including Putin allies Alisher Usmanov, Russia's richest man, and railways chief Vladimir Yakunin.

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(Writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Timothy Heritage and Giles Elgood)

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On eve of New York auctions, newer works seen driving the boom

With a billion dollars worth of art on offer at their spring auctions in New York, Christie's and Sotheby's are looking to the post-war and contemporary works to drive the market this month.

The sales of the newer works are expected to exceed those of the once-dominant Impressionist and modern field by anywhere from 50 to 100 percent, according to estimates.

 

While both Christie's and Sotheby's have a pair of Impressionist or modern paintings valued at $20 million or $30 million-range, both houses' contemporary sales feature at least three works that are expected to fetch $30 million to $40 million, and possibly more.

Records are likely to fall for artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Gerhard Richter, who already holds the record price for a work by any living artist at auction.

"The supply of $30-million-plus paintings and high-quality material is far greater than what you can find in the Impressionist and modern field," said Brett Gorvy, Christie's worldwide chairman of post-war and contemporary art.

"There's also a very strong taste for 20th and 21st century works which is very global, and has probably increased more in recent years, than it has for other categories."

Gorvy added that a strong cycle like the one that started in 2010 brings in new collectors and drives up prices.

WORKS BY POLLOCK, BASQUIAT

Christie's post-war sale on May 15 features three works that are each expected to fetch around $30 million or more. Jackson Pollock's "Number 19, 1948" and Basquiat's "Dustheads" each have a pre-sale estimate of up to $35 million, and Roy Lichtenstein's "Woman with Flowered Hat" could sell for more than $30 million.

At Sotheby's sale on May 14 a trio of works from the latter half of the 20th century are the highest-priced works of any auction of the entire two-week period.

Richter's "Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral Square, Milan)," Francis Bacon's "Study for Portrait of P.L." and Barnett Newman's "Onement VI" are each expected to sell for between $30 million and $40 million.

"We don't know what's going to happen," said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's worldwide head of contemporary art.

But no one is counting out the ability of the Impressionist and modern market to make a splash and bring out big spenders.

Brooke Lampley, head of Impressionist and modern art at Christie's New York, noted its sale on Wednesday features blue-chip artists like Monet, Picasso, Matisse and Miro, whose prices usually withstand volatility in broader markets.

While this season offers nothing remotely approaching Edvard Munch's "The Scream," which Sotheby's sold for a record $120 million a year ago, its collection from the estate of inventor and entrepreneur Alex Lewyt has drawn great interest.

"Early indications are we're going to have a vast array of buyers," said David Norman, Sotheby's worldwide co-chairman of Impressionist and modern art.

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"The demand rises to the supply," he said, adding the demand and price is entirely about the quality of the pieces.

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The highlights of Sotheby's Impressionist and modern sale on Tuesday include Rodin's "Le Penseur" ("The Thinker"), one of the world's most recognizable sculptures. The signed 1906 cast is expected to sell for $8 million to $12 million.

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Its top lot is Cezanne's still life "Les Pommes," with a pre-sale estimate of $25 million to $35 million, and Modigliani's portrait "L'Amazone," which could fetch as much as $30 million.

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At Christie's, Chaim Soutine's "Le petit patissier" is estimated to fetch $16 million to $22 million, while Andre Derain's avant-garde portrait "Madame Matisse au kimono" could sell for $15 million to $20 million.

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(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Eric Beech)

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New York's Met Museum celebrates punk's influence on fashion

With their black leather, studded jackets, ripped jeans, bondage trousers and messages of rebellion and anarchy, punks from the 1970s probably never envisioned that a major museum would be celebrating their influence on fashion 40 years later.

But the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is doing just that with a new exhibition, "Punk: Chaos to Couture," that opens on May 9 and runs through August 14.

It includes 100 punk styles and ranges from the mid-70s at Vivienne Westwood's and Malcolm McLaren's London boutique and images of The Sex Pistols to examples of punk's impact on haute couture and designers such as Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang, Miuccia Prada and John Galliano.

Films and music from the era and a re-creation of the graffiti-covered toilet at New York's CBGB punk rock club, where Blondie, the Ramones and Talking Heads played, add to the gritty authenticity of the exhibit.

"Punk was all about celebrating the individual, celebrating creativity and not being afraid - to be brave in your self-presentation and to be brave in your fashion statement," Andrew Bolton, the curator of the exhibit, said in an interview.

"Punk was all about challenging the status quo," he added. "I think all those elements very much impacted fashion."

ORIGINALITY AND INDIVIDUALITY

Thomas P. Campbell, the director and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, described punk as "a tale of two cities, New York and London."

The exhibit, arranged over seven themed galleries, focuses on punk's concept of do-it-yourself and its impact on high fashion and ready-to-wear.

No other cultural movement has had a similar impact on fashion, according to Bolton, who added that designers engage with punk on different level.

Shirts emblazoned with "God Save the Queen," "Anarchy in the UK" and "Anarchist Punk Gang - The 1% ers" from Westwood's 1970s Seditionaries boutique are testament to punk's political message and desire to shock and provoke.

Torn clothing and garments incorporating chicken bones, tin studs, metal chains, bottle tops, horsehair, safety pins and other types of hardware show punk's do-it-yourself ethos and its themes of deconstruction and destruction.

"I think it is rather stunning. There are a lot of collector's items," British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, who was nicknamed the "princess of punk," said about the show.

"The most amazing thing that you spot from this exhibition is, in fact, that you have the street-edge stuff. You have it edited into couture ... But then you have the amazing Japanese seeing it with another eye ... turning it into a totally new art form," she added.

Punk's influence on Italian designer Gianni Versace is shown in his gowns with silver and gold safety pins and a black knit and leather dress embroidered with gold metal studs.

Other examples include Alexander McQueen's coatdress made of black synthetic material, imitating trash bags, and a coat of bubble wrap, Helmut Lang's jacket of silver and blue patent leather with aluminum foil and metal bottle caps and Rei Kawakubo's blouse and skirt of black polyester and silk satin and taffeta.

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"Although punk's democracy stands in opposition to fashion's autocracy, designers continue to appropriate punk's aesthetic vocabulary to capture its youthful rebelliousness and aggressive forcefulness," Bolton said.

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Big numbers for Impressionist art as New York auctions kick off

The spring auctions got off to a strong start on Tuesday with Sotheby's solid sale of Impressionist and modern art which took in $230 million, led by a $42 million Cezanne still life and a $26 million Modigliani portrait.

A year after Sotheby's set the world auction record for any work of art with its sale of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for $120 million, it managed a sale of works by Picasso, Rodin and Monet that saw 85 percent of 71 lots on offer finding buyers and came in just under its high pre-sale estimate of $235 million.

 

Calling its offerings "an extraordinary group of material," Simon Shaw, New York head of Impressionist and modern art for Sotheby's, said "it's very satisfying to see that the market agreed with us."

"If anyone needed a signal that the Impressionist market is not just alive but thriving, this sale provided the evidence," Shaw added.

The once-dominant Impressionist market has been eclipsed in recent years by the booming market for post-war and contemporary works, which have seen prices spike year after year.

David Norman, Sotheby's worldwide co-chairman of Impressionist and modern art, noted that the results showed that collectors "haven't all moved into contemporary yet."

Officials also said the sale was marked by unprecedented participation from Latin American and Asia collectors, providing further evidence of an increasingly global art market, at least at its highest echelons.

Prices held up against Sotheby's estimates, but bidding was measured and not marked by the free-wheeling sprees that characterized other successful sales in recent seasons.

The sale's top lot was Cezanne's still life "Les Pommes," which carried a pre-sale estimate of $25 million to $35 million but fetched $41.6 million including commission.

A signed 1906 cast of Rodin's "Le Penseur" ("The Thinker"), one of the world's most recognizable sculptures, was estimated to sell for about $10 million but did far better, going for just over $15.8 million.

A record was set for Georges Braque when "Paysage a La Ciotat" soared to $15.8 million, beating the high estimate.

The same work sold for $200,000 in the 1980s and about $3 million in 2000, Sotheby's said, underlining the investment value of such top-quality works.

Other highlights included Modigliani's portrait "L'Amazone" which sold for $25.9 million, in the middle of its estimated range; and Monet's "Poirier en fleurs," which went for just over $8.5 million, beating the high estimate of $7 million.

Fernand Leger's "Trois femmes as la table rouge," which was being sold by pop diva Madonna to benefit her foundation for girls' education, fetched $7.2 million, above the high estimate.

The sales continue on Wednesday with Christie's auction of Impressionist and modern art.

New Soutine record set as Christie's meets Impressionist goal

A record was set for French artist Chaim Soutine on Wednesday at Christie's auction of Impressionist and modern art, which met expectations with a total of just under $160 million.

The tightly edited sale of 47 works exceeded Christie's auction a year ago by more than $40 million, but the earlier evening featured only 31 lots. Still, an impressive 94 percent of the works on offer found buyers which officials said was its best sell-through rate since 2006.

"We saw high demand for blue-chip names such as Picasso and Monet," said Brooke Lampley, Christie's New York head of Impressionist and modern art.

 

"But we also saw an educated marketplace for rarities like the Soutine and Chagall," she added, referring to the evening's two top-priced works.

Officials also pointed to global presence, saying more than 30 countries participated in the auction which totaled $158.5 million, near the middle of expectations of about $130 million to $190 million.

Soutine's circa 1927 oil "Le petit patissier" as expected achieved the sale's highest price of $18,043,750 including commission, breaking the artist's auction record. But the price was near the low end of the $16 million to $22 million pre-sale estimate.

Another highly touted work, Andre Derain's avant-garde portrait "Madame Matisse au kimono," was the sale's one major casualty. Estimated to sell for $15 million to $20 million, it went unsold when officials said initial strong interest in the work fell off at the 11th hour.

Other highlights included Chagall's "Les trois acrobats," which soared past its estimate of $6 million to $9 million to fetch $13 million, and Egon Schiele's "Selbstbildnis mit Modell (Fragment)," which nearly doubled its estimate and sold for $11.3 million.

Modigliani's "La Juive" was only estimated at $2 million to $3 million but sold for more than $6.8 million. Miro's "Peinture" fell short of its $10 million to $15 million estimate (estimates do not include commission of about 12 percent), selling for just under $11 million.

The auctions continue next week when both Christie's and rival Sotheby's hold their sales of post-war and contemporary art.

DiCaprio, Christie's to hold auction to benefit environment

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the star of the new film "The Great Gatsby," and his foundation have teamed up with Christie's for a charity auction next week to benefit environmental causes.

Thirty-three works, many created for and donated to the auction by some of the world's top artists, will go under the hammer on Monday in New York at The 11th Hour Auction, which aims to raise as much as $18 million to protect the last wild places on Earth and their endangered species.

 

"A lot of the works of this quality have never been at auction. We have what we believe are conservative estimates," Loic Gouzer, international specialist at Christie's and the head of the sale, said in an interview.

"It is going to be the biggest one-time environmental fundraiser ever," he added.

Zeng Fanzhi's "The Tiger," an oil on canvas, Bharti Kher's "The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own," a work on fiberglass, and Mark Grotjahn's "Untitled (Standard Lotus No. II, Bird of Paradise, Tiger Mouth Face 44.01), an oil on cardboard mounted on canvas, are expected to be among the highlights of the sale.

Each of the three works has a pre-sale estimate of $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

Other artists whose work will be auctioned include Peter Beard, Banksy, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, Rob Pruitt, Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel and Elizabeth Peyton.

DiCaprio has donated "Ocean V" by Andreas Gursky to the auction.

"The roster of donations reads like a who's who of the most important contemporary artists of our time," said Brett Gorvy, chairman and international head of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's. "And the impact will be felt for generations."

A panel of environmental experts and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will decide which innovative conservations projects will benefit from the proceeds of the sale.

Gouzer said he and DiCaprio, whose foundation has worked on environmental issues since 1998, approached the artists and explained what they hoped to accomplish with the auction, which they have been planning for a year.

"We explained that we wanted great works and they were very reactive because of the cause. The artists are very sensitive to the fact that we are destroying our planet," Gouzer said.

DiCaprio, who grew up in Los Angeles, has been a vocal supporter of the environment and preserving the planet's natural resources. The actor produced and narrated the 2007 documentary "The 11th Hour" a documentary about the state of the natural environment.

"Nature is abundant and it is resilient, but we have to take action now to protect our planet before it is too late," DiCaprio said in a statement.

"Given that less than 2 percent of philanthropic giving goes to environmental conservation projects, we are grateful that Christie's and the participating artists are providing this incredible opportunity."

"The Great Gatsby" opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.

New Andy Warhol exhibit features the artist as subject

More than 30 years ago in the south of France, the camera switched its focus to the celebrity-obsessed artist Andy Warhol, who became the reluctant subject of a photo study that was then relegated to a storage cabinet filed under "W."

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Sometime last year, a friend of photographer Steve Wood happened upon the trove of 35mm slides and persuaded wood that the "lost" images deserved their Warhol-allotted 15 minutes of fame.

The resulting exhibition, "Lost Then Found," opens on May 3 for 10 days in New York, and features unusual shots such as Warhol posing with a giant sunflower and backpack, or shown winking, with eyes closed and in close-up head shots.

"These photographs reveal a different Warhol than most of us have ever witnessed," said Christopher Bollen, editor of Interview magazine, which Warhol founded in 1969 and which is supporting the exhibition.

 

"It's a testament to the photographer and an opportunity to re-assess his bearing as one of the most influential artists of the last century," Bollen said.

The origins of the 1981 Deauville shoot were just as unlikely as its rediscovery.

Warhol and Wood, a British Daily Express newspaper veteran of both war front lines and fashion shows, met through a mutual acquaintance - New York restaurateur Elaine Kaufman, proprietress of the celebrity haunt Elaine's.

Both photographer and subject overcame initial reluctance, with Wood finding the light that had inspired the Impressionist painters a century earlier perfect for the private, wan Warhol, organizers of the exhibit said.

The Pittsburgh-based Andy Warhol Foundation, which oversees the late artist's canon, is also a partner on the exhibition, which takes place at the temporary New York City gallery, 345 meatpacking.

Warhol, who died in 1987 at age 58, was known for pop art paintings of iconic items such as a Campbell's soup can and eye-catching portraits of celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Mick Jagger and Elvis Presley. He also dabbled in music and film making and his studio, the Factory, was home base for a generation of New York celebrities and hipsters.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud, editing by Jill Serjeant)

Tate Britain releases shortlist for modern art's Turner prize

An artist who paints portraits of imaginary people joined a French-born filmmaker, a British-German performance artist and a British multimedia artist on the shortlist for modern art's most prestigious and controversial award on Thursday.

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The portraits of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, the first black woman to be named a finalist for the annual 25,000-pound ($38,200) Turner Prize, appear traditional but are of imaginary people with invented histories, the Tate Britain museum said.

Laure Prouvost's films employ quick cuts, montage and deliberate misuse of language to create "surprising and unpredictable work", said the Tate, which chairs the prize.

British-German Tino Sehgal's "intimate works" consist purely of live encounters between people, and David Shrigley's "macabre" multimedia works dwell on black humor, it said.

The Turner Prize rewards British artists aged under 50 for an "outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the twelve months preceding". The three finalists who do not win will receive 5,000 pounds each.

 

Established in 1984, the prize has thrived on public debate about what constitutes art, with critics accusing past winners of creating works designed purely to shock.

Damien Hirst was presented with the prize in 1995 for a pickled cow, and in 2001 an empty room with a light that switched on and off clinched the prize for Martin Creed.

Critics were delighted last year when British video artist Elizabeth Price won the prize for her film "The Woolworths Choir of 1979" about a fatal fire in Manchester in that year, describing it variously as "terrifying" and "exhilarating".

This year's Turner exhibition will be held in Derry-Londonderry, 2013's UK City of Culture. The winner will be announced on December 2.

($1 = 0.6550 British pounds)

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Artist Richard Prince didn't infringe photo copyrights: U.S. court

In a closely watched case in the art world, American artist Richard Prince won a federal appeals court order Thursday holding that he did not infringe the copyrights of a photographer by incorporating his images into 25 paintings and collages.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed a lower court's finding that Prince must hand over artwork using the photos to Patrick Cariou, whose pictures of Rastafarians in Jamaica were incorporated into art, exhibited in 2007 and 2008.

 

"These twenty-five of Prince's artworks manifest an entirely different aesthetic from Cariou's photographs," U.S. Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote.

The court battle has been considered a test to what extent the appropriation of artists' works is protected from claims of copyright infringement.

The appeal drew friend-of-the-court briefs from a wide range of parties, from the Whitney Museum of American Art to Google Inc, which warned the lower court's ruling deviated from standard copyright analysis in "dangerous" ways.

The ruling is a "huge win for Richard Prince and an entire genre of modern art," said Anthony Falzone, a lawyer for The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which filed a brief backing Prince.

"It recognizes the broad range of meaning that artists create by incorporating existing images into their work," he said.

Prince is a prominent appropriation artist and photographer whose works have appeared in New York's Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Joshua Schiller, a lawyer for Prince at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, said his client was pleased with Thursday's ruling.

Cariou sued Price and the Gagosian Gallery in December 2008 after learning about a show held at the gallery featuring 22 works from a series Prince titled Canal Zone. Thirty of the pieces Prince created for the series incorporated all or part of photos by Cariou that appeared in a 2000 book, "Yes Rasta."

Some of Prince's works sold for more than $2 million. He sold eight for $10.5 million and traded seven others for works by painter Larry Rivers and sculptor Richard Serra, according to the appeals court decision.

Prince argued that his use of the photographs was protected under the theory of fair use, saying his work was "transformative."

Thursday's ruling reverses an order by U.S. District Court Deborah Batts in Manhattan, who had concluded that Prince was not protected from liability because his paintings did not "comment on" or critically refer back to the original works.

Daniel Brooks, a lawyer for Cariou at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, said he believed the court got the law wrong "in a number of ways," and said he was considering his options.

He said the ruling does not provide any guidance for future cases to figure out if an artist violates copyright laws through appropriation.

"It just seems somewhat subjective," he said.

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The appeals court sent the dispute over five of Prince's works back to the trial court to determine whether some alterations were enough to avoid a finding of infringement.

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Hollis Gonerka Bart, a lawyer for the Gagosian Gallery and owner Larry Gagosian, said the case will now likely proceed as a trial on the five remaining works. Her client intends to "defend vigorously" itself, she said.

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(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Richard Chang)

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Painter Mark Rothko's Latvian hometown opens centre for his art

Modernist painter Mark Rothko's hometown in Latvia devoted a new centre to the late artist's work on Wednesday.

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The Mark Rothko Arts Centre opened in the eastern town of Daugavpils, the Baltic country's second biggest city, with six paintings from the private collection of the artist's daughter and son, who were present at the launch.

The exhibition is the first permanent Rothko installation in eastern Europe.

"This centre, I think, is going to become an important archive, an important resource for Rothko scholars to draw on, and also for Rothko's public," son Christopher Rothko told a news conference.

 

Rothko was born in 1903 in Daugavpils, when Latvia was part of the Russian Empire and the town was known as Dvinsk.

His parents emigrated to the United states when he was 10 and he later became one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century. He killed himself in 1970.

The new centre is located in the historic premises of Daugavpils fortress. The centre was mainly funded with European Union funds.

Auction house Christie's said on its website that its Rothko sale in May 2012 was a world auction record for any contemporary work of art.

(Reporting by Aija Braslina, editing by Patrick Lannin and Paul Casciato)

On eve of New York auctions, newer works seen driving the boom

With a billion dollars worth of art on offer at their spring auctions in New York, Christie's and Sotheby's are looking to the post-war and contemporary works to drive the market this month.

The sales of the newer works are expected to exceed those of the once-dominant Impressionist and modern field by anywhere from 50 to 100 percent, according to estimates.

While both Christie's and Sotheby's have a pair of Impressionist or modern paintings valued at $20 million or $30 million-range, both houses' contemporary sales feature at least three works that are expected to fetch $30 million to $40 million, and possibly more.

Records are likely to fall for artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Gerhard Richter, who already holds the record price for a work by any living artist at auction.

"The supply of $30-million-plus paintings and high-quality material is far greater than what you can find in the Impressionist and modern field," said Brett Gorvy, Christie's worldwide chairman of post-war and contemporary art.

"There's also a very strong taste for 20th and 21st century works which is very global, and has probably increased more in recent years, than it has for other categories."

Gorvy added that a strong cycle like the one that started in 2010 brings in new collectors and drives up prices.

WORKS BY POLLOCK, BASQUIAT

Christie's post-war sale on May 15 features three works that are each expected to fetch around $30 million or more. Jackson Pollock's "Number 19, 1948" and Basquiat's "Dustheads" each have a pre-sale estimate of up to $35 million, and Roy Lichtenstein's "Woman with Flowered Hat" could sell for more than $30 million.

At Sotheby's sale on May 14 a trio of works from the latter half of the 20th century are the highest-priced works of any auction of the entire two-week period.

Richter's "Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral Square, Milan)," Francis Bacon's "Study for Portrait of P.L." and Barnett Newman's "Onement VI" are each expected to sell for between $30 million and $40 million.

"We don't know what's going to happen," said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's worldwide head of contemporary art.

But no one is counting out the ability of the Impressionist and modern market to make a splash and bring out big spenders.

Brooke Lampley, head of Impressionist and modern art at Christie's New York, noted its sale on Wednesday features blue-chip artists like Monet, Picasso, Matisse and Miro, whose prices usually withstand volatility in broader markets.

While this season offers nothing remotely approaching Edvard Munch's "The Scream," which Sotheby's sold for a record $120 million a year ago, its collection from the estate of inventor and entrepreneur Alex Lewyt has drawn great interest.

"Early indications are we're going to have a vast array of buyers," said David Norman, Sotheby's worldwide co-chairman of Impressionist and modern art.

_0">

"The demand rises to the supply," he said, adding the demand and price is entirely about the quality of the pieces.

_1">

The highlights of Sotheby's Impressionist and modern sale on Tuesday include Rodin's "Le Penseur" ("The Thinker"), one of the world's most recognizable sculptures. The signed 1906 cast is expected to sell for $8 million to $12 million.

_2">

Its top lot is Cezanne's still life "Les Pommes," with a pre-sale estimate of $25 million to $35 million, and Modigliani's portrait "L'Amazone," which could fetch as much as $30 million.

_3">

At Christie's, Chaim Soutine's "Le petit patissier" is estimated to fetch $16 million to $22 million, while Andre Derain's avant-garde portrait "Madame Matisse au kimono" could sell for $15 million to $20 million.

_4">

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Eric Beech)

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New York's Met Museum celebrates punk's influence on fashion

With their black leather, studded jackets, ripped jeans, bondage trousers and messages of rebellion and anarchy, punks from the 1970s probably never envisioned that a major museum would be celebrating their influence on fashion 40 years later.

But the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is doing just that with a new exhibition, "Punk: Chaos to Couture," that opens on May 9 and runs through August 14.

It includes 100 punk styles and ranges from the mid-70s at Vivienne Westwood's and Malcolm McLaren's London boutique and images of The Sex Pistols to examples of punk's impact on haute couture and designers such as Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang, Miuccia Prada and John Galliano.

 

Films and music from the era and a re-creation of the graffiti-covered toilet at New York's CBGB punk rock club, where Blondie, the Ramones and Talking Heads played, add to the gritty authenticity of the exhibit.

"Punk was all about celebrating the individual, celebrating creativity and not being afraid - to be brave in your self-presentation and to be brave in your fashion statement," Andrew Bolton, the curator of the exhibit, said in an interview.

"Punk was all about challenging the status quo," he added. "I think all those elements very much impacted fashion."

ORIGINALITY AND INDIVIDUALITY

Thomas P. Campbell, the director and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, described punk as "a tale of two cities, New York and London."

The exhibit, arranged over seven themed galleries, focuses on punk's concept of do-it-yourself and its impact on high fashion and ready-to-wear.

No other cultural movement has had a similar impact on fashion, according to Bolton, who added that designers engage with punk on different level.

Shirts emblazoned with "God Save the Queen," "Anarchy in the UK" and "Anarchist Punk Gang - The 1% ers" from Westwood's 1970s Seditionaries boutique are testament to punk's political message and desire to shock and provoke.

Torn clothing and garments incorporating chicken bones, tin studs, metal chains, bottle tops, horsehair, safety pins and other types of hardware show punk's do-it-yourself ethos and its themes of deconstruction and destruction.

"I think it is rather stunning. There are a lot of collector's items," British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, who was nicknamed the "princess of punk," said about the show.

"The most amazing thing that you spot from this exhibition is, in fact, that you have the street-edge stuff. You have it edited into couture ... But then you have the amazing Japanese seeing it with another eye ... turning it into a totally new art form," she added.

Punk's influence on Italian designer Gianni Versace is shown in his gowns with silver and gold safety pins and a black knit and leather dress embroidered with gold metal studs.

Other examples include Alexander McQueen's coatdress made of black synthetic material, imitating trash bags, and a coat of bubble wrap, Helmut Lang's jacket of silver and blue patent leather with aluminum foil and metal bottle caps and Rei Kawakubo's blouse and skirt of black polyester and silk satin and taffeta.

_0">

"Although punk's democracy stands in opposition to fashion's autocracy, designers continue to appropriate punk's aesthetic vocabulary to capture its youthful rebelliousness and aggressive forcefulness," Bolton said.

_1">

Big numbers for Impressionist art as New York auctions kick off

The spring auctions got off to a strong start on Tuesday with Sotheby's solid sale of Impressionist and modern art which took in $230 million, led by a $42 million Cezanne still life and a $26 million Modigliani portrait.

A year after Sotheby's set the world auction record for any work of art with its sale of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for $120 million, it managed a sale of works by Picasso, Rodin and Monet that saw 85 percent of 71 lots on offer finding buyers and came in just under its high pre-sale estimate of $235 million.

 

Calling its offerings "an extraordinary group of material," Simon Shaw, New York head of Impressionist and modern art for Sotheby's, said "it's very satisfying to see that the market agreed with us."

"If anyone needed a signal that the Impressionist market is not just alive but thriving, this sale provided the evidence," Shaw added.

The once-dominant Impressionist market has been eclipsed in recent years by the booming market for post-war and contemporary works, which have seen prices spike year after year.

David Norman, Sotheby's worldwide co-chairman of Impressionist and modern art, noted that the results showed that collectors "haven't all moved into contemporary yet."

Officials also said the sale was marked by unprecedented participation from Latin American and Asia collectors, providing further evidence of an increasingly global art market, at least at its highest echelons.

Prices held up against Sotheby's estimates, but bidding was measured and not marked by the free-wheeling sprees that characterized other successful sales in recent seasons.

The sale's top lot was Cezanne's still life "Les Pommes," which carried a pre-sale estimate of $25 million to $35 million but fetched $41.6 million including commission.

A signed 1906 cast of Rodin's "Le Penseur" ("The Thinker"), one of the world's most recognizable sculptures, was estimated to sell for about $10 million but did far better, going for just over $15.8 million.

A record was set for Georges Braque when "Paysage a La Ciotat" soared to $15.8 million, beating the high estimate.

The same work sold for $200,000 in the 1980s and about $3 million in 2000, Sotheby's said, underlining the investment value of such top-quality works.

Other highlights included Modigliani's portrait "L'Amazone" which sold for $25.9 million, in the middle of its estimated range; and Monet's "Poirier en fleurs," which went for just over $8.5 million, beating the high estimate of $7 million.

Fernand Leger's "Trois femmes as la table rouge," which was being sold by pop diva Madonna to benefit her foundation for girls' education, fetched $7.2 million, above the high estimate.

The sales continue on Wednesday with Christie's auction of Impressionist and modern art.

New Soutine record set as Christie's meets Impressionist goal

A record was set for French artist Chaim Soutine on Wednesday at Christie's auction of Impressionist and modern art, which met expectations with a total of just under $160 million.

The tightly edited sale of 47 works exceeded Christie's auction a year ago by more than $40 million, but the earlier evening featured only 31 lots. Still, an impressive 94 percent of the works on offer found buyers which officials said was its best sell-through rate since 2006.

"We saw high demand for blue-chip names such as Picasso and Monet," said Brooke Lampley, Christie's New York head of Impressionist and modern art.

 

"But we also saw an educated marketplace for rarities like the Soutine and Chagall," she added, referring to the evening's two top-priced works.

Officials also pointed to global presence, saying more than 30 countries participated in the auction which totaled $158.5 million, near the middle of expectations of about $130 million to $190 million.

Soutine's circa 1927 oil "Le petit patissier" as expected achieved the sale's highest price of $18,043,750 including commission, breaking the artist's auction record. But the price was near the low end of the $16 million to $22 million pre-sale estimate.

Another highly touted work, Andre Derain's avant-garde portrait "Madame Matisse au kimono," was the sale's one major casualty. Estimated to sell for $15 million to $20 million, it went unsold when officials said initial strong interest in the work fell off at the 11th hour.

Other highlights included Chagall's "Les trois acrobats," which soared past its estimate of $6 million to $9 million to fetch $13 million, and Egon Schiele's "Selbstbildnis mit Modell (Fragment)," which nearly doubled its estimate and sold for $11.3 million.

Modigliani's "La Juive" was only estimated at $2 million to $3 million but sold for more than $6.8 million. Miro's "Peinture" fell short of its $10 million to $15 million estimate (estimates do not include commission of about 12 percent), selling for just under $11 million.

The auctions continue next week when both Christie's and rival Sotheby's hold their sales of post-war and contemporary art.

DiCaprio, Christie's to hold auction to benefit environment

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the star of the new film "The Great Gatsby," and his foundation have teamed up with Christie's for a charity auction next week to benefit environmental causes.

Thirty-three works, many created for and donated to the auction by some of the world's top artists, will go under the hammer on Monday in New York at The 11th Hour Auction, which aims to raise as much as $18 million to protect the last wild places on Earth and their endangered species.

 

"A lot of the works of this quality have never been at auction. We have what we believe are conservative estimates," Loic Gouzer, international specialist at Christie's and the head of the sale, said in an interview.

"It is going to be the biggest one-time environmental fundraiser ever," he added.

Zeng Fanzhi's "The Tiger," an oil on canvas, Bharti Kher's "The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own," a work on fiberglass, and Mark Grotjahn's "Untitled (Standard Lotus No. II, Bird of Paradise, Tiger Mouth Face 44.01), an oil on cardboard mounted on canvas, are expected to be among the highlights of the sale.

Each of the three works has a pre-sale estimate of $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

Other artists whose work will be auctioned include Peter Beard, Banksy, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, Rob Pruitt, Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel and Elizabeth Peyton.

DiCaprio has donated "Ocean V" by Andreas Gursky to the auction.

"The roster of donations reads like a who's who of the most important contemporary artists of our time," said Brett Gorvy, chairman and international head of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's. "And the impact will be felt for generations."

A panel of environmental experts and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will decide which innovative conservations projects will benefit from the proceeds of the sale.

Gouzer said he and DiCaprio, whose foundation has worked on environmental issues since 1998, approached the artists and explained what they hoped to accomplish with the auction, which they have been planning for a year.

"We explained that we wanted great works and they were very reactive because of the cause. The artists are very sensitive to the fact that we are destroying our planet," Gouzer said.

DiCaprio, who grew up in Los Angeles, has been a vocal supporter of the environment and preserving the planet's natural resources. The actor produced and narrated the 2007 documentary "The 11th Hour" a documentary about the state of the natural environment.

"Nature is abundant and it is resilient, but we have to take action now to protect our planet before it is too late," DiCaprio said in a statement.

"Given that less than 2 percent of philanthropic giving goes to environmental conservation projects, we are grateful that Christie's and the participating artists are providing this incredible opportunity."

"The Great Gatsby" opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.

Artist Richard Prince didn't infringe photo copyrights: U.S. court

In a closely watched case in the art world, American artist Richard Prince won a federal appeals court order Thursday holding that he did not infringe the copyrights of a photographer by incorporating his images into 25 paintings and collages.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed a lower court's finding that Prince must hand over artwork using the photos to Patrick Cariou, whose pictures of Rastafarians in Jamaica were incorporated into art, exhibited in 2007 and 2008.

"These twenty-five of Prince's artworks manifest an entirely different aesthetic from Cariou's photographs," U.S. Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote.

The court battle has been considered a test to what extent the appropriation of artists' works is protected from claims of copyright infringement.

The appeal drew friend-of-the-court briefs from a wide range of parties, from the Whitney Museum of American Art to Google Inc, which warned the lower court's ruling deviated from standard copyright analysis in "dangerous" ways.

The ruling is a "huge win for Richard Prince and an entire genre of modern art," said Anthony Falzone, a lawyer for The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which filed a brief backing Prince.

"It recognizes the broad range of meaning that artists create by incorporating existing images into their work," he said.

Prince is a prominent appropriation artist and photographer whose works have appeared in New York's Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Joshua Schiller, a lawyer for Prince at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, said his client was pleased with Thursday's ruling.

Cariou sued Price and the Gagosian Gallery in December 2008 after learning about a show held at the gallery featuring 22 works from a series Prince titled Canal Zone. Thirty of the pieces Prince created for the series incorporated all or part of photos by Cariou that appeared in a 2000 book, "Yes Rasta."

Some of Prince's works sold for more than $2 million. He sold eight for $10.5 million and traded seven others for works by painter Larry Rivers and sculptor Richard Serra, according to the appeals court decision.

Prince argued that his use of the photographs was protected under the theory of fair use, saying his work was "transformative."

Thursday's ruling reverses an order by U.S. District Court Deborah Batts in Manhattan, who had concluded that Prince was not protected from liability because his paintings did not "comment on" or critically refer back to the original works.

Daniel Brooks, a lawyer for Cariou at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, said he believed the court got the law wrong "in a number of ways," and said he was considering his options.

He said the ruling does not provide any guidance for future cases to figure out if an artist violates copyright laws through appropriation.

"It just seems somewhat subjective," he said.

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The appeals court sent the dispute over five of Prince's works back to the trial court to determine whether some alterations were enough to avoid a finding of infringement.

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Hollis Gonerka Bart, a lawyer for the Gagosian Gallery and owner Larry Gagosian, said the case will now likely proceed as a trial on the five remaining works. Her client intends to "defend vigorously" itself, she said.

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(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Richard Chang)

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Painter Mark Rothko's Latvian hometown opens centre for his art

Modernist painter Mark Rothko's hometown in Latvia devoted a new centre to the late artist's work on Wednesday.

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The Mark Rothko Arts Centre opened in the eastern town of Daugavpils, the Baltic country's second biggest city, with six paintings from the private collection of the artist's daughter and son, who were present at the launch.

The exhibition is the first permanent Rothko installation in eastern Europe.

"This centre, I think, is going to become an important archive, an important resource for Rothko scholars to draw on, and also for Rothko's public," son Christopher Rothko told a news conference.

 

Rothko was born in 1903 in Daugavpils, when Latvia was part of the Russian Empire and the town was known as Dvinsk.

His parents emigrated to the United states when he was 10 and he later became one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century. He killed himself in 1970.

The new centre is located in the historic premises of Daugavpils fortress. The centre was mainly funded with European Union funds.

Auction house Christie's said on its website that its Rothko sale in May 2012 was a world auction record for any contemporary work of art.

(Reporting by Aija Braslina, editing by Patrick Lannin and Paul Casciato)

Russia's new Mariinsky theatre woos the doubters

Enlisting the drama of Prokofiev and the elegance of Tchaikovsky, St Petersburg's new Mariinsky theatre staged a gala opening on Thursday designed to silence critics of the starkly modernist building erected in the heart of Russia's imperial capital.

The $700-million glass and limestone building, which critics have dubbed the "Mariinsky mall", glowed in the night sky, its glass and metal walkways humming with excited voices as the select crowd of 2,000 found their seats.

 

Just opposite, across a canal, the 19th century original opera house, one of the great showcases of Russian culture which became home to the Kirov opera and ballet companies in Soviet times, stood silent for the evening.

"We need breathe life into the theatre. We want it to live, so that people are attracted and can feel the charm of modern technology. Then it will shine in all its glory," President Vladimir Putin told the guests, who included leading Russian businessmen.

Calling the Mariinsky by its affectionate short name Mariinka, Putin said the theatre had always preserved the best traditions of the Russian arts, never losing "its shine".

"Seven hundred and sixty performances a year! And each one is world class. No artistic team in the world does that."

Putin praised Valery Gergiev, director of the Mariinsky and regarded by many as the greatest living orchestral conductor, for pursuing a project that had been conceived just before Russia's financial crash of 1998.

"In 2003, Gergiev raised the issue again and a new project arose," Putin said, referring to a decision made after he became president in 2000.

The Mariinsky II is one of several grand projects sponsored by Putin intended to show what Russia can achieve, most notably the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

SEE INSIDE

Gergiev, whose 60th birthday coincided with the gala, had been criticized for commissioning a sleek, modern building which some say sits awkwardly among its pastel colored 19th-century neighbors.

But in the end only two people protested outside. One of them, a woman, held a banner mocking Gergiev's recent "Hero of Labour" award received from Putin on Wednesday, suggesting the conductor should either pull down the building or hand back the medal.

The conductor, a loyal ally of Putin, had shrugged off the criticism, saying the Mariinsky needed a new stage and state-of-the-art technology to produce the kind of theatre people expected to see today.

"People asked why do we need new architecture? Why does St Petersburg need a new opera house? I think the best way to answer those questions is simply to let people come in," he told a news conference.

Many guests were impressed. Light bounced off wall panels made of Italian onyx that stretch several storeys high and the sound was excellent.

"I like the theatre and I liked the concert. It's a contemporary theatre with great potential," said former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. "I love theatres and have been in many great theatres in different corners of the world. I think it is worthy of becoming one of them."

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The simple light wood of the balconies and aisles was a world away from the original Mariinsky Theatre, which was sumptuously decorated in gold and red. Only the VIP box in the Mariinsky II has a slight nod to extravagance - a modern chandelier to make prominent guests feel at home.

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The gala opened with a dramatic excerpt from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet ballet and included the coronation scene from Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov, when the vast stage swarmed with peasants.

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Ulyana Lopatkina and Viktor Baranov danced "Pavlova and Cecchetti" to Tchaikovsky and Placido Domingo sang a Wagner aria in front of an audience including Putin allies Alisher Usmanov, Russia's richest man, and railways chief Vladimir Yakunin.

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(Writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Timothy Heritage and Giles Elgood)

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On eve of New York auctions, newer works seen driving the boom

With a billion dollars worth of art on offer at their spring auctions in New York, Christie's and Sotheby's are looking to the post-war and contemporary works to drive the market this month.

The sales of the newer works are expected to exceed those of the once-dominant Impressionist and modern field by anywhere from 50 to 100 percent, according to estimates.

 

While both Christie's and Sotheby's have a pair of Impressionist or modern paintings valued at $20 million or $30 million-range, both houses' contemporary sales feature at least three works that are expected to fetch $30 million to $40 million, and possibly more.

Records are likely to fall for artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Gerhard Richter, who already holds the record price for a work by any living artist at auction.

"The supply of $30-million-plus paintings and high-quality material is far greater than what you can find in the Impressionist and modern field," said Brett Gorvy, Christie's worldwide chairman of post-war and contemporary art.

"There's also a very strong taste for 20th and 21st century works which is very global, and has probably increased more in recent years, than it has for other categories."

Gorvy added that a strong cycle like the one that started in 2010 brings in new collectors and drives up prices.

WORKS BY POLLOCK, BASQUIAT

Christie's post-war sale on May 15 features three works that are each expected to fetch around $30 million or more. Jackson Pollock's "Number 19, 1948" and Basquiat's "Dustheads" each have a pre-sale estimate of up to $35 million, and Roy Lichtenstein's "Woman with Flowered Hat" could sell for more than $30 million.

At Sotheby's sale on May 14 a trio of works from the latter half of the 20th century are the highest-priced works of any auction of the entire two-week period.

Richter's "Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral Square, Milan)," Francis Bacon's "Study for Portrait of P.L." and Barnett Newman's "Onement VI" are each expected to sell for between $30 million and $40 million.

"We don't know what's going to happen," said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's worldwide head of contemporary art.

But no one is counting out the ability of the Impressionist and modern market to make a splash and bring out big spenders.

Brooke Lampley, head of Impressionist and modern art at Christie's New York, noted its sale on Wednesday features blue-chip artists like Monet, Picasso, Matisse and Miro, whose prices usually withstand volatility in broader markets.

While this season offers nothing remotely approaching Edvard Munch's "The Scream," which Sotheby's sold for a record $120 million a year ago, its collection from the estate of inventor and entrepreneur Alex Lewyt has drawn great interest.

"Early indications are we're going to have a vast array of buyers," said David Norman, Sotheby's worldwide co-chairman of Impressionist and modern art.

_0">

"The demand rises to the supply," he said, adding the demand and price is entirely about the quality of the pieces.

_1">

The highlights of Sotheby's Impressionist and modern sale on Tuesday include Rodin's "Le Penseur" ("The Thinker"), one of the world's most recognizable sculptures. The signed 1906 cast is expected to sell for $8 million to $12 million.

_2">

Its top lot is Cezanne's still life "Les Pommes," with a pre-sale estimate of $25 million to $35 million, and Modigliani's portrait "L'Amazone," which could fetch as much as $30 million.

_3">

At Christie's, Chaim Soutine's "Le petit patissier" is estimated to fetch $16 million to $22 million, while Andre Derain's avant-garde portrait "Madame Matisse au kimono" could sell for $15 million to $20 million.

_4">

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Patricia Reaney and Eric Beech)

_5">

New York's Met Museum celebrates punk's influence on fashion

With their black leather, studded jackets, ripped jeans, bondage trousers and messages of rebellion and anarchy, punks from the 1970s probably never envisioned that a major museum would be celebrating their influence on fashion 40 years later.

But the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is doing just that with a new exhibition, "Punk: Chaos to Couture," that opens on May 9 and runs through August 14.

It includes 100 punk styles and ranges from the mid-70s at Vivienne Westwood's and Malcolm McLaren's London boutique and images of The Sex Pistols to examples of punk's impact on haute couture and designers such as Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang, Miuccia Prada and John Galliano.

 

Films and music from the era and a re-creation of the graffiti-covered toilet at New York's CBGB punk rock club, where Blondie, the Ramones and Talking Heads played, add to the gritty authenticity of the exhibit.

"Punk was all about celebrating the individual, celebrating creativity and not being afraid - to be brave in your self-presentation and to be brave in your fashion statement," Andrew Bolton, the curator of the exhibit, said in an interview.

"Punk was all about challenging the status quo," he added. "I think all those elements very much impacted fashion."

ORIGINALITY AND INDIVIDUALITY

Thomas P. Campbell, the director and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, described punk as "a tale of two cities, New York and London."

The exhibit, arranged over seven themed galleries, focuses on punk's concept of do-it-yourself and its impact on high fashion and ready-to-wear.

No other cultural movement has had a similar impact on fashion, according to Bolton, who added that designers engage with punk on different level.

Shirts emblazoned with "God Save the Queen," "Anarchy in the UK" and "Anarchist Punk Gang - The 1% ers" from Westwood's 1970s Seditionaries boutique are testament to punk's political message and desire to shock and provoke.

Torn clothing and garments incorporating chicken bones, tin studs, metal chains, bottle tops, horsehair, safety pins and other types of hardware show punk's do-it-yourself ethos and its themes of deconstruction and destruction.

"I think it is rather stunning. There are a lot of collector's items," British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, who was nicknamed the "princess of punk," said about the show.

"The most amazing thing that you spot from this exhibition is, in fact, that you have the street-edge stuff. You have it edited into couture ... But then you have the amazing Japanese seeing it with another eye ... turning it into a totally new art form," she added.

Punk's influence on Italian designer Gianni Versace is shown in his gowns with silver and gold safety pins and a black knit and leather dress embroidered with gold metal studs.

Other examples include Alexander McQueen's coatdress made of black synthetic material, imitating trash bags, and a coat of bubble wrap, Helmut Lang's jacket of silver and blue patent leather with aluminum foil and metal bottle caps and Rei Kawakubo's blouse and skirt of black polyester and silk satin and taffeta.

_0">

"Although punk's democracy stands in opposition to fashion's autocracy, designers continue to appropriate punk's aesthetic vocabulary to capture its youthful rebelliousness and aggressive forcefulness," Bolton said.

_1">

Big numbers for Impressionist art as New York auctions kick off

The spring auctions got off to a strong start on Tuesday with Sotheby's solid sale of Impressionist and modern art which took in $230 million, led by a $42 million Cezanne still life and a $26 million Modigliani portrait.

A year after Sotheby's set the world auction record for any work of art with its sale of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for $120 million, it managed a sale of works by Picasso, Rodin and Monet that saw 85 percent of 71 lots on offer finding buyers and came in just under its high pre-sale estimate of $235 million.

 

Calling its offerings "an extraordinary group of material," Simon Shaw, New York head of Impressionist and modern art for Sotheby's, said "it's very satisfying to see that the market agreed with us."

"If anyone needed a signal that the Impressionist market is not just alive but thriving, this sale provided the evidence," Shaw added.

The once-dominant Impressionist market has been eclipsed in recent years by the booming market for post-war and contemporary works, which have seen prices spike year after year.

David Norman, Sotheby's worldwide co-chairman of Impressionist and modern art, noted that the results showed that collectors "haven't all moved into contemporary yet."

Officials also said the sale was marked by unprecedented participation from Latin American and Asia collectors, providing further evidence of an increasingly global art market, at least at its highest echelons.

Prices held up against Sotheby's estimates, but bidding was measured and not marked by the free-wheeling sprees that characterized other successful sales in recent seasons.

The sale's top lot was Cezanne's still life "Les Pommes," which carried a pre-sale estimate of $25 million to $35 million but fetched $41.6 million including commission.

A signed 1906 cast of Rodin's "Le Penseur" ("The Thinker"), one of the world's most recognizable sculptures, was estimated to sell for about $10 million but did far better, going for just over $15.8 million.

A record was set for Georges Braque when "Paysage a La Ciotat" soared to $15.8 million, beating the high estimate.

The same work sold for $200,000 in the 1980s and about $3 million in 2000, Sotheby's said, underlining the investment value of such top-quality works.

Other highlights included Modigliani's portrait "L'Amazone" which sold for $25.9 million, in the middle of its estimated range; and Monet's "Poirier en fleurs," which went for just over $8.5 million, beating the high estimate of $7 million.

Fernand Leger's "Trois femmes as la table rouge," which was being sold by pop diva Madonna to benefit her foundation for girls' education, fetched $7.2 million, above the high estimate.

The sales continue on Wednesday with Christie's auction of Impressionist and modern art.

New Soutine record set as Christie's meets Impressionist goal

A record was set for French artist Chaim Soutine on Wednesday at Christie's auction of Impressionist and modern art, which met expectations with a total of just under $160 million.

The tightly edited sale of 47 works exceeded Christie's auction a year ago by more than $40 million, but the earlier evening featured only 31 lots. Still, an impressive 94 percent of the works on offer found buyers which officials said was its best sell-through rate since 2006.

"We saw high demand for blue-chip names such as Picasso and Monet," said Brooke Lampley, Christie's New York head of Impressionist and modern art.

 

"But we also saw an educated marketplace for rarities like the Soutine and Chagall," she added, referring to the evening's two top-priced works.

Officials also pointed to global presence, saying more than 30 countries participated in the auction which totaled $158.5 million, near the middle of expectations of about $130 million to $190 million.

Soutine's circa 1927 oil "Le petit patissier" as expected achieved the sale's highest price of $18,043,750 including commission, breaking the artist's auction record. But the price was near the low end of the $16 million to $22 million pre-sale estimate.

Another highly touted work, Andre Derain's avant-garde portrait "Madame Matisse au kimono," was the sale's one major casualty. Estimated to sell for $15 million to $20 million, it went unsold when officials said initial strong interest in the work fell off at the 11th hour.

Other highlights included Chagall's "Les trois acrobats," which soared past its estimate of $6 million to $9 million to fetch $13 million, and Egon Schiele's "Selbstbildnis mit Modell (Fragment)," which nearly doubled its estimate and sold for $11.3 million.

Modigliani's "La Juive" was only estimated at $2 million to $3 million but sold for more than $6.8 million. Miro's "Peinture" fell short of its $10 million to $15 million estimate (estimates do not include commission of about 12 percent), selling for just under $11 million.

The auctions continue next week when both Christie's and rival Sotheby's hold their sales of post-war and contemporary art.

DiCaprio, Christie's to hold auction to benefit environment

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the star of the new film "The Great Gatsby," and his foundation have teamed up with Christie's for a charity auction next week to benefit environmental causes.

Thirty-three works, many created for and donated to the auction by some of the world's top artists, will go under the hammer on Monday in New York at The 11th Hour Auction, which aims to raise as much as $18 million to protect the last wild places on Earth and their endangered species.

 

"A lot of the works of this quality have never been at auction. We have what we believe are conservative estimates," Loic Gouzer, international specialist at Christie's and the head of the sale, said in an interview.

"It is going to be the biggest one-time environmental fundraiser ever," he added.

Zeng Fanzhi's "The Tiger," an oil on canvas, Bharti Kher's "The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own," a work on fiberglass, and Mark Grotjahn's "Untitled (Standard Lotus No. II, Bird of Paradise, Tiger Mouth Face 44.01), an oil on cardboard mounted on canvas, are expected to be among the highlights of the sale.

Each of the three works has a pre-sale estimate of $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

Other artists whose work will be auctioned include Peter Beard, Banksy, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, Rob Pruitt, Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel and Elizabeth Peyton.

DiCaprio has donated "Ocean V" by Andreas Gursky to the auction.

"The roster of donations reads like a who's who of the most important contemporary artists of our time," said Brett Gorvy, chairman and international head of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's. "And the impact will be felt for generations."

A panel of environmental experts and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will decide which innovative conservations projects will benefit from the proceeds of the sale.

Gouzer said he and DiCaprio, whose foundation has worked on environmental issues since 1998, approached the artists and explained what they hoped to accomplish with the auction, which they have been planning for a year.

"We explained that we wanted great works and they were very reactive because of the cause. The artists are very sensitive to the fact that we are destroying our planet," Gouzer said.

DiCaprio, who grew up in Los Angeles, has been a vocal supporter of the environment and preserving the planet's natural resources. The actor produced and narrated the 2007 documentary "The 11th Hour" a documentary about the state of the natural environment.

"Nature is abundant and it is resilient, but we have to take action now to protect our planet before it is too late," DiCaprio said in a statement.

"Given that less than 2 percent of philanthropic giving goes to environmental conservation projects, we are grateful that Christie's and the participating artists are providing this incredible opportunity."

"The Great Gatsby" opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.

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JPMorgan board unanimously backs Dimon as chairman, CEO: letter

Two ranking JPMorgan Chase & Co ( id="symbol_JPM.N_0">JPM.N) directors issued a letter to shareholders on Friday arguing against recommendations by proxy advisory firms to split the duties of Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon and vote against some directors.

The board is unanimous in its view that it is best for Dimon to hold both roles and the current governance structure "is working effectively," according to the letter signed by presiding director Lee Raymond and William Weldon, who is chairman of the corporate governance and nominating committee.

The letter warned that a vote against current directors or to split the CEO and chairman roles "could be disruptive to the company and is not in shareholders' best interests."

The letter is a direct response to reports in the past seven days from advisory firms Institutional Investors Services and Glass Lewis & Co. The firms concluded that investigations of the bank's $6.2 billion loss on the "London Whale" derivatives trades showed the board had failed in its oversight of JPMorgan executives.

The incident is cited in policy debates in Washington as evidence big banks need to be broken up or required to hold much more capital for the safety of the financial system.

Both advisory firms recommended JPMorgan shareholders vote against re-election of three board members who served on the board's risk policy committee when the losses occurred.

The advisory firms generally take the view that having a board chairman who is separate from the CEO in a company leads to better oversight. They said the London Whale episode showed that JPMorgan was no exception.

The board letter on Friday said the firms "and others have incorrectly and unfairly characterized management's mistakes as a failure by the risk policy committee."

The letter was issued ahead of the bank's annual meeting on May 21 when shareholders will vote on the board's recommendation that all 11 directors be re-elected for another year.

The ballot also includes a non-binding resolution proposed by some shareholders that calls on the board to have a chairman who is independent from the CEO.

The vote on splitting the roles has come to be seen as a referendum on Dimon, 57, who was widely praised for leading the bank profitably and safely through the financial crisis and then saw that reputation tarnished by the trading debacle.

The seven-page letter came one year to the day after the company announced it was losing billions of dollars on the trades. Dimon had previously dismissed news reports of possible losses as a "tempest in a teapot."

The letter said the advisory firms focused "too narrowly" on the losses and a broader view of the company's performance shows Dimon and all of the board members should be supported in the voting.

The company reported record earnings and scored well on measures of profitability, including 15 percent returns on tangible common equity, every year for the last three years, the letter said.

"We highlight the performance of the Company not to diminish the events of last year or the lessons learned from them, but to provide important context," the letter said.

The letter defended by name the three directors on the risk policy committee who ISS said should not be re-elected. It said the three directors--David Cote, who is also chairman and CEO of Honeywell International Inc, ( id="symbol_HON.N_1">HON.N) James Crown, who is president of private investment firm Henry Crown and Company, and Ellen Futter, who is president of the American Museum of Natural History--had worked diligently and have "accomplished backgrounds."

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The letter said there was no reason that the trio should have seen that a trading strategy which had successfully hedged the bank's credit risk had turned into a losing bet.

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The directors said it depends on the situation whether it is best to have one person or two as chief executive and chairman. They noted that the board had split the roles when Dimon first became CEO and when his predecessor, William Harrison, first became CEO under another chairman.

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(Reporting By David Henry in New York; writing by Lauren Tara LaCapra; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Andrew Hay)

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Wall Street Week Ahead: 'Sell in May and Go Away?' Not This Year

With the Dow and the S&P 500 setting another string of record closing highs this week, the old Wall Street adage "Sell in May and Go Away" is starting to look weak.

Closing out the second week of May, the Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 2.3 percent for the month.

For the year, the benchmark S&P 500 is up a stunning 14.6 percent.

Some analysts say that when the market starts off this strong, it tends to keep the upward momentum going until the end of the year.

"Instead of 'Sell in May and Go Away,' we may be setting up for a surprise May rally," said Ryan Detrick, senior technical analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"What's encouraging is that small-cap stocks have been outperforming the market recently. It's a sign that the market is going for even the riskiest sectors."

Both the Dow industrials and the S&P 500 topped major milestones for the first time in early May, with the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI surpassing 15,000 and the S&P 500 .SPX breaking through the 1,600 mark. Since then, the indexes have been steadily holding above the landmark levels. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC has climbed to the highest closing levels in 12-1/2 years.

In a sign of the rally's breadth, the Russell 2000 index .TOY of mid- and small-cap stocks also hit all-time highs recently.

Technical analysts say the next level to watch would be 1,660 on the S&P 500.

"The main question is whether the bulls can maintain the 1,600 level on the S&P 500 for another week," said Ari Wald, technical analyst at PrinceRidge Group, a New York-based investment bank.

"If it does, the next level is 1,660. But with markets already this high, it won't be easy."

Despite lingering concerns about a technical pullback, the market's strong performance so far this year has also increased the chances of equities rallying throughout the year, according to some analysts.

"With the market up so much, can it continue to make gains over the next seven months through year end? At least based on history, it has a better chance of continuing higher during strong years than when it is not up significantly," Bespoke Investment Group analysts wrote in a note to clients.

Bespoke noted that this year is only the 11th-best start to a year since 1991, when the index gained another 9.7 percent for the rest of the year.

If 2013 plays out like that - with another 9.7 percent gain in store for the S&P 500 - the broad index would finish the year up a whopping 24.3 percent.

LAGGARDS PLAY CATCH-UP

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Among recent gainers, sectors closely tied to economic growth such as technology and financial stocks have been catching up after lagging for most of the year.

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"We are seeing the once beaten-down stocks making a comeback," Wald said. "It's been sort of a rotation of leadership that has been taking place for a month or so. It will be interesting to see if this can last" into next week.

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The S&P financial sector index .SPSY is up about 2 percent for the month, while the S&P information technology sector .SPLRCT is up about 3 percent.

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For some perspective, the tech sector has a way to go, when compared with defensive sectors like utilities. The S&P utility sector index .SPLRCU is up more than 13 percent for the year, while the S&P info tech sector index is up less than 8 percent.

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CONSUMER IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT

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The American consumer will get Wall Street's attention next week when a raft of economic data and retailers' earnings could shed some light on whether they shopped for more than just the bare necessities.

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Retail sales for April will be released on Monday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

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"It (retail sales) will be a chance to look at the real picture after weak numbers last month on sequestration and other (external) factors," said Karyn Cavanaugh, market strategist at ING U.S. Investment Management in New York.

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"The market is driven by good fundamentals from corporate earnings, but it's really the consumers that take up 70 percent of our economy. They are a real game changer."

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Other economic data on tap includes April import and export prices on Tuesday, followed on Wednesday by the U.S. Producer Price Index for April, the Empire State Index for May, industrial production and capacity utilization for April, and the National Association of Home Builders Index for May.

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On Thursday, the economic agenda includes the U.S. Consumer Price index for April, housing starts for April, weekly jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed's survey for May.

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Wall Street will get a look at consumer sentiment on Friday, when the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers will release its preliminary reading for May.

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On the earnings front, a number of retailers are scheduled to report results, including Macy's Inc ( id="symbol_M.N_7">M.N) on Wednesday. Results from J.C. Penney Co Inc ( id="symbol_JCP.N_8">JCP.N), Nordstrom Inc ( id="symbol_JWN.N_9">JWN.N), Kohl's Corp ( id="symbol_KSS.N_10">KSS.N) and Wal-Mart ( id="symbol_WMT.N_11">WMT.N) are expected on Thursday.

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With 89 percent of the S&P 500 companies having reported earnings so far, 66.7 percent have topped profit expectations, above the average of 63 percent since 1994. However, only 46.4 percent have beaten revenue expectations, well under the average of 62 percent since 2002.

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(Wall St Week Ahead runs every Friday. Questions or comments on this column can be emailed to: angela.moon(at)thomsonreuters.com)

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