Good morning! Happy New Year!
We are back. We are glad that you are, too. Below, a quick rundown of how 2021 is beginning in the art world: new antiquities regulations are on deck, the shape of the Gagosian empire is changing, and a boatload of new public art is in the offing.
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THE BIG NEWS OUT OF WASHINGTON is President Trump’s attempt to pressure Georgia officials to “find” him some more votes, but there is action for the art industry, as well. The defense spending bill that Congress passed on Friday, over the president’s veto, includes provisions that will facilitate greater oversight of the antiquities trade, Zachary Small reports in the New York Times. The new measure is aimed at cracking down on black-market activities and money laundering , and “empowers federal regulators to design measures that would remove secrecy from transactions,” Small writes. The Treasury Department will be in charge of developing the new rules this year.
Gagosian appears to have closed up shop in the City by the Bay, the San Francisco Chronicle says. Its sign has come down, and its phone is disconnected. The mega-gallery opened there in 2016, in a Kulapat Yantrasast–designed space a stone’s throw from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. If Gagosian is done with S.F. for good, it would be a rare retreat for the hard-charging dealer. “Gogo” opened in Basel, Switzerland, in 2019, and that same year took over more real estate in New York, on one of Chelsea’s most-desirable blocks, West 24th Street. (According to Page Six, the man himself is in St. Barts, for the record.)
There’s never a dull moment on the public-art beat, but it is particularly wild right now. In Pernambuco, Brazil, a roughly 100-foot-long sculpture of a vagina by Juliana Notari is getting some folks riled up. In Kansas City, Missouri, Bryan Morris made a giant snow sculpture at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In Canberra, Australia, a hot air balloon sculpture by Patricia Piccinini will take flight next month. And Claire Selvin has a look back at the year in public art in ARTnews.
The Trump campaign reached a $20,000 settlement with a Boston street artist who said he was shoved by a staffer while trying to ask a question of the future president in New Hampshire five years ago. The campaign admitted no wrongdoing. The artist, Rod Webber, likes inserting himself into the action; he vandalized Maurizio Cattelan‘s banana work at Miami Basel in 2019. [Insider]
Priscilla DeGregory reports that Shchukin Gallery Inc. is continuing its four-year fight to gain possession of Russian avant-garde works that is says were stolen by Moscow financier Rustam Iseev. It pegs their value at $60 million. Iseev has denied the allegations. [New York Post]
Anti-mask demonstrators held a protest/party outside Vancouver Art Gallery on New Year’s Eve. One protester allegedly bit a police officer. [Vancouver Is Awesome]
Collector Carol Upham, the first woman to serve as president of the board of the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida, died at 86. [Tampa Bay Times]
The Minneapolis Institute of Art reported a loss for the first time in 27 years. (You can guess why.) [StarTribune]
Christopher Knight remembered Los Angeles artist Roland Reiss, who died last month. [Los Angeles Times]
Here’s a look at the Shanghai space that Beijing’s UCCA Center for Contemporary Art is planning to open this year. [Hong Kong Tatler]
The owner of a Nashville gallery that was damaged in the Christmas Day bombing says she will rebuild. [Fox News]
A team from the Courtauld Institute of Art beat Manchester University in the finals of the BBC quiz show University Challenge on New Year’s Day. [The Art Newspaper]
Pioneering Black comic book artists are received new attention. [The New York Times]
It was Robert Smithson‘s birthday on Saturday. (He would have been 83.) To mark the occasion, Lindsay Aveilhé, editor of the Sol LeWitt wall drawings catalogue raisonné, uncorked a Nancy Holt photo of Smithson and LeWitt taking in a ballgame with Mel Bochner and Robert Mangold. Please enjoy. [Instagram]
Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.