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ACCESSIONING ACTION. Philanthropist Emily Rauh Pulitzer has promised 22 works to the St. Louis Art Museum (where she was once a curator), including pieces by Picasso, Warhol, and Brancusi. SLAM director Min Jung Kim said that the organization “will forever be in her debt.” The Pulitzer family has given 144 works to the museum over the years. Meanwhile, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has acquired Jacopo Bassano’s titanic Miracle of the Quails (1554), ARTnews reports. The piece “has been rarely seen by scholars and never by the general public,” Timothy Potts, the Getty’s director, noted in a statement. It goes on view next month. And the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, said that the Ahmanson Foundation will provide funding for acquisitions in a newly minted partnership, the Los Angeles Times reports. Last year, the foundation cut its funding program with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art over disagreements about the institution’s direction.
DEACCESSIONING (AND RE-ACCESSIONING) DEVELOPMENTS. In a new column, L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight praises the Hammer Museum at UCLA for deciding to sell off a 1930 Picasso that does not fit into its curatorial framework. The piece is estimated to make as much as $8 million at Christie’s, and the funds will go toward acquiring works on paper and photographs, as well as its Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts. Knight also slams the Metropolitan Museum of Art for auctioning off works to cover pandemic-induced revenue shortfalls, terming the move “dangerously crass” at a time when its endowment has seen major gains. One final museum-collection story: the Art Newspaper reports that the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin restituted an 1867 Camille Pissarro that the heirs of a Jewish lawyer named Armand Dorville sold under duress during World War II; it then purchased it back from Dorville’s family.
SPONSORED CONTENT BY LOWER EAST SIDE PRINT SHOP
Editions/Artists’ Books Fair gathers 51 international publishers and galleries to showcase the latest editions in printmaking on its website, eabfair.org.
Presented by the Lower East Side Printshop, the fair is open from October 18 to October 31 with free access to the general public.
A New York City commission voted to remove a statue of President Thomas Jefferson from the city council’s chambers, but stopped short of officially designating an alternative location for it. There is an agreement in place for the 7-foot-tall sculpture to be transferred to the New-York Historical Society, a move opposed by some historians in a recent open letter. [The New York Times]
Drawings by Giacomo Cavedone, on both sides of a single sheet of paper, are being returned to the heirs of the Jewish collector Arthur Feldmann, whose art holdings were looted by the Nazis. Italian police seized the paper when it was offered for sale online. The majority of Feldmann’s collection remains unaccounted for. [The Art Newspaper]
Brian Donnelly, aka KAWS, has acquired a William Edmondson sculpture as a promised gift to the American Folk Art Museum in New York. Historian John Foster spotted the work sitting on a porch in St. Louis (Big day for the Gateway to the West in this newsletter.) Its owner knew it had been made by an African American sculptor, but did not know it was by Edmondson. [The New York Times]
In an upcoming exhibition, the British Museum will present the oldest-known map of the stars, the Nebra Sky Disc, which dates back 3,600 years. The bronze piece was dug up in eastern Germany in 1999 and is held by the State Museum of Prehistory in the German city of Halle. [Associated Press]
Sophie Lauwers has been named general director of Bozar (the Centre for Fine Arts) in Brussels, and will serve for a six-year term that begins November 1. Lauwers has been director of exhibitions there since 2011, and for about a decade before that was exhibition coordinator. [ArtDaily]
It is a busy moment for Kanye West. A court approved his name change to Ye, he performed at Alexandre Arnault and Geraldine Guyot’s wedding in Venice, he has been spotted sporting some truly intriguing masks, and he still made time to catch Cyprien Gaillard’s show at Metabolic Rift in Berlin. [Gladstone Gallery/Instagram]
A HEADLINE FOR THE AGES. We move now from Ye to his former partner. The New York Post’s copy really says it all: “Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala photo helped solve looted gold Egyptian coffin case.” The tabloid’s story picks up a semi-recent episode of journalist Ben Lewis’s podcast (Art Bust: Scandalous Stories of the Art World) concerning this remarkable series of events. One big takeaway (and, warning, this is a bit of a spoiler): If you hire folks to dig up an artifact illicitly, it is best to pay them, quickly and vigorously. In one of the more bizarre coincidences of late, news surfaced earlier this year that the U.S. had confiscated an allegedly looted ancient Roman statue that was said to be headed to Kardashian. Through a rep, the star denied any involvement with the statue. [NYP]
Post-Conquest Aztec Altar Found in Mexico on 500th Anniversary of Spain’s Invasion
When Hernan Cortes invaded Mexico in 1521, it heralded the end of an era for the Aztec people. But that empire was not finished all at once, and according to the BBC, a new archaeological find shows that some Aztecs managed to continue living after the Spanish arrived. Earlier this week, Mexican officials announced that…
When Hernan Cortes invaded Mexico in 1521, it heralded the end of an era for the Aztec people. But that empire was not finished all at once, and according to the BBC, a new archaeological find shows that some Aztecs managed to continue living after the Spanish arrived.
Earlier this week, Mexican officials announced that they found an altar formed by a family that survived the initial Spanish invasion. The altar was discovered quite deep underground. Archaeologist Mara Becerra told the BBC that she believes the altar was purposefully buried to hide it from the Spanish. Becerra also believes that the family who made this altar were Mexica, the Indigenous people who ruled the Aztec empire.
Archaeologists spent three months studying an old Indigenous house, particularly the courtyard where the ritual offerings were made. There, the archaeologists found 13 incense burners, five bowls, a cup, a plate and a pot with cremated skeletal remains.
A statement by Mexico’s culture ministry said that the altar was made “to bear witness to the ending of a cycle of their lives and of their civilization.” The announcement of these findings comes on the 500th anniversary of Spain’s invasion.
Mexico is a treasure trove of potential archaeological sites that have not yet been excavated. Even Teotihuacán, one of the most famous Mexican archaeological sites, is only 5 percent excavated. Late this past October, 500 potential archaeological sites were discovered in Mexico using Light Detection and Ranging technology.
However, in recent years there have been exciting discoveries all around the country. In 2020, a newly discovered Aztec tower of skulls, found in Mexico city, drew substantial media attention. But, due to the pandemic, progress made in the archaeological field in Mexico has faced some setbacks.
Simone Leigh, Who Departed Hauser & Wirth After Less Than Two Years, Joins Matthew Marks Gallery
Simone Leigh, who departed the mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth last October after just 21 months, has joined Matthew Marks gallery. The artist, who is preparing to represent the United States at the 2022 Venice Biennale, joins a roster that includes Alex Da Corte, Martin Puryear, and Jasper Johns. She made her debut with Matthew Marks…
Simone Leigh, who departed the mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth last October after just 21 months, has joined Matthew Marks gallery. The artist, who is preparing to represent the United States at the 2022 Venice Biennale, joins a roster that includes Alex Da Corte, Martin Puryear, and Jasper Johns. She made her debut with Matthew Marks at Art Basel Miami Beach, which opened this week.
The sought-after sculptor’s departure from Hauser & Wirth spurred speculation over whether she had found new representation. Leigh joined the gallery, which has 15 locations worldwide, in 2020 after leaving New York’s Luhring Augustine and Los Angeles’s David Kordansky Gallery, the latter of which had represented her for half a year.
In mid-October, Hauser & Wirth had prominently featured Leigh’s sculptures in Frieze London. A major exhibition at the gallery’s location in Zurich, her first presentation in Switzerland, was ongoing amid the split. The details surrounding her departure have remained under wraps, and both parties issued gracious statements at the time.
“I love and respect the people I worked with at Hauser and Wirth,” Leigh said. “But I do not feel the gallery is the right fit for me in the wider sense. I’m still figuring out what I want from a primary gallery relationship.” The decision came amid a career-high for the New York-based artist, who will be the first Black woman to represent the U.S. in Venice.
In 2017 she was awarded the Studio Museum in Harlem’s $50,000 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, and the following year she won the Hugo Boss Prize, which comes with $100,000 and a solo exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Her work was chosen by the prize’s jury for its “longstanding and unwavering commitment to addressing black women as both the subject of and audience for her work, a focus which imagines a recalibration of the outmoded power structures that shape contemporary society.”
Leigh was included in the critically acclaimed 2021 survey “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America” at the New Museum in New York; she was also featured in the Prospect New Orleans triennial. Her work is currently on view in the group show “Black American Portraits” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Met Museum Receives Landmark $125 M. from Longtime Trustee Oscar Tang
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced its largest capital gift in its 151-year history: $125 million pledged by the museum’s long-time trustee Oscar Tang and his wife, Agnes Hsu-Tang. The funds will go towards a renovation project centered around the museum’s presentation of modern and contemporary art, to include 80,000 square-feet of galleries…
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced its largest capital gift in its 151-year history: $125 million pledged by the museum’s long-time trustee Oscar Tang and his wife, Agnes Hsu-Tang. The funds will go towards a renovation project centered around the museum’s presentation of modern and contemporary art, to include 80,000 square-feet of galleries and public space to be named the Oscar L. Tang and H.M. Agnes Hsu-Tang Wing.
The long-postponed “re-envisioning” of the Met’s modern and contemporary galleries, first proposed more than a decade ago, has been delayed due to a lack of funding. The project is currently estimated to cost a total of $500 million.
Oscar Tang, the octogenarian retired financier, founded the investment management firm Reich & Tang. Having served on the Met’s board for three decades, it is not the first transformative gift he’s bestowed on the New York institution. In 1997, he gave $14 million to fund the Met’s purchase of rare Chinese paintings, and in 2015 gave $15 million to establish new curatorial positions and to support programming for the centennial of the museum’s department of Asian art.
Tang is the son of Tang Ping-yuan, a Chinese textile mogul who founded a successful manufacturing company in Hong Kong in the post-Communist era. In the Met’s press release, he attributed his philanthropic activities in part to having been displaced by conflict in his home region and being subsequently educated in the U.S. Tang’s previous philanthropic gifts also include money given to the New York Philharmonic, Yale University, and the Gordon Parks Foundation. Agnes Hsu-Tang, an archaeologist and researcher at Columbia University, has served as a cultural heritage advisor at UNESCO and for the Obama administration.
“Their generosity—while breathtaking in its scope and vision—is no surprise, as it is an extension of their decades-long support of our Museum,” Daniel H. Weiss, the Met’s president and CEO, said in a statement. Max Hollein, the museum’s director, added, “The reimagining of these galleries will allow the Museum to approach 20th- and 21st-century art from a global, encyclopedic, bold, and surprising perspective—all values that reflect the legacy of Oscar and Agnes.”
The couple, whom the Met called “activist collectors” in its press release, described the museum as “an exemplary guardian and presenter of artistic heritages across cultures and time.” They alluded to their longtime support of transcultural and anti-racism initiatives as a driving factor in backing the Modern wing project, saying, “Contemporary art transcends entrenched notions of borders and identities.”