Friday, March 27, 2015

Religious bronze statue to travel from Italy to San Juan basilica

By Emily Sides
A 10-foot bronze statue of the Virgin Mary sits completed in the Italian foundry where it was created. The statue will find a permanent home in a redesigned entrance at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle - National Shrine in San Juan. courtesy photo
TEXAS---The nearly one-mile walk around the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine grounds has 30 bronze statues showing a dozen scenes of Jesus Christ and the cross, known as the Stations of the Cross. That five-year art project was completed in 1993. Italian woodcrafter Edmund Rabanser created the life-sized statutes first in wood before they were cast in bronze. [link]

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Indiana governor signs 'religious freedom' bill in private ceremony

By Tony Cook
"I signed SEA 101 today to ensure religious liberty is fully protected under IN law" Courtesy of Gov. Pence's Twitter page
INDIANA---The nation's latest legislative battle over religious freedom and gay rights came to a close Thursday when Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a controversial "religious freedom" bill into law. His action followed two days of intense pressure from opponents — including technology company executives and convention organizers — who fear the measure could allow discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians. Pence and leaders of the Republican-controlled General Assembly called those concerns a "misunderstanding." [link]

Artifact destruction by ISIL is act of ‘heritage terror’

IRAN---Whether they’re authentic or not, videos of Islamic State militants destroying ancient artifacts at Iraq’s Mosul Museum and elsewhere are “propaganda videos” meant as “heritage terror,” an Islamic art professor told RT. The videos show men with sledgehammers knocking over statues, smashing antiquities and torching ancient writing. But there are questions being raised about the authenticity of the videos, when it’s known that the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) needs money to keep operating its terror campaign – and antiquities could fetch large sums of money on the black market. [link]

All the places you'll go? Only Springfield, Illinois has a Dr. Suess museum

By Christie Chu
A rendering of the design for the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum's "City Zoo Interactive Display." Photo: courtesy of Boston Globe/ Springfield Museums.
ILLINOIS---The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss, the first museum dedicated to a literary figure's life work, will open its doors in June 2016. It will be an interactive and bilingual experience, focusing on literacy and reading activities for people of all ages. The museum will operate under the Springfield Museums' umbrella, an institution that oversees four other museums, according to the Boston Globe, which had the story. Situated in the author's own hometown, the museum's estimated cost is $3.5 million. [link]

Carmaker Hyundai expected to announce 'unprecedented' museum sponsorship deal in LA

By David NG
Seated ArhatKorea, Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), 18th-19th centurySculptureMolded stoneware with underglaze blue and clear glaze. Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art 
CALIFORNIA---In a deal that will be the longest corporate sponsorship in its history, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is expected to announce Thursday a partnership with Korean automaker Hyundai, a ten-year agreement that will put a spotlight on Korean art through exhibitions and provide support for the museum's art and technology program. Neither LACMA nor representatives of Hyundai Motor Company, the Seoul-based automobile manufacturer, would put an exact dollar figure on the deal, which the museum is calling "The Hyundai Project." LACMA director Michael Govan would say only that it was in "the millions of dollars." [link]

Indiana religious freedom act: Does it protect faithful or legalize prejudice?

By Harry Bruinius

INDIANA---Over a decade ago, many liberal states, including Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island, passed their own versions of the 22-year-old federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Overall, at least 19 states have passed similar bills, since the federal law does not apply to the states, the US Supreme Court ruled in 1997. On Monday, Indiana became the latest state to pass such legislation. But since last year, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision has changed the bipartisan tenor of the law. The nation’s highest court used the federal religious freedom statute to rule that closely held corporations with religious objections to contraceptives were exempt from the Obamacare provision requiring their coverage. Since then, conservatives have seen state religious freedom laws as a means to combat the expanding definition of marriage, as well as other hot-button social issues. [link]

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stained glass artist Judith Schaechter pushes the boundaries of the Garden of Eden

By Kristen Stipanov
The Birth of Eve by Judith Schaechter, 2013 was recently added to the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery. (©2013 Judith Schaechter. Image courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery & the artist)
WASHINGTON, DC---Judith Schaechter, a stained glass artist from Philadelphia, has devoted her life to art with both unique style and subject matter. Most of her work, like the Renwick Gallery’s recent acquisition, "The Birth of Eve," is displayed using lightboxes, to achieve a stunning effect. “I’m not religious,” she says. Reflecting on her inspiration for the piece, Schaechter remembered that she had been reading a book called "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible!" by Jonathan Goldstein, whose first chapter is a humorous retelling of the Genesis story. In concept and in technique, Judith Schaechter is pushing glass art forward. [link]