Wednesday’s Art Notes

BY Tom LeGro  February 24, 2010 at 12:25 PM EDT

London Embassy design

U.S. State Department officials announced Tuesday that Philadelphia-based architecture firm Kieran Timberlake has won the competition to design its new, high-security embassy in London. The light-filled cube will be one of the most expensive U.S. diplomatic buildings in the world, as well as the greenest.

“The concept holds the greatest potential for developing a truly iconic embassy and is on the leading edge of sustainable design,” the State Department said in a statement.

Nicolai Ouroussoff of the New York Times is less enthusiastic. “The proposed building … is not inelegant by the standards of other recent American Embassies, but it has all the glamour of a corporate office block,” he writes.

The Los Angeles Times’ Christopher Hawthorne is a bit more diplomatic, so to speak: “[The design] aspires to a different and broader set of values, primarily having to do with ecological responsibility and neighborliness within a tight urban fabric.”

Groundbreaking will be in 2013 with a goal to complete construction in 2017.

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Finalists for the 2010 Penn Faulkner Award for Fiction have been announced: Sherman Alexie for “War Dances “; Barbara Kingsolver for “The Lacuna”; Lorraine M. Lopez for “Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories”; Lorrie Moore for “A Gate at the Stairs”; and Colson Whitehead for “Sag Harbor.” The winner will be announced on March 23.

We’ve talked to three of the five authors on the NewsHour about their nominated works: Sherman Alexie, Barbara Kingsolver and Lorrie Moore.

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The Art Newspaper picks up on a story reported by the New Orleans Times-Picayune last week: The sequel to Prospect.1, New Orleans’ biennial contemporary art exhibition, has been postponed to November 2011 because of a lack of funding.

You can find Jeffrey Brown’s report about Prospect.1 here.

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A newly authenticated painting by Vincent Van Gogh has gone on display at the Museum de Fundatie in the Netherlands. An art collector purchased the piece Paris 35 years ago, convinced it was painted by Van Gogh but never able to prove it. The work was investigated by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which concluded that the Dutch-born painter was indeed its maker.