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TODAY MARKS THE 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE FUKUSHIMA nuclear disaster in Japan following an earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 15,000. “It is something that is hard to talk about, something that cannot be talked about, because there are so many pressures,” the artist Hikaru Fujii told DW. “There are political, economic, and very personal forces at play.” Fujii has made video works that examine the trauma from the event, and is one of many artists whose work has responded to it. Pierre Huyghe shot part of his 2014 film Untitled (Human Mask) in the area zone, while Kyohei Sakaguchi turned an abandoned home into refugee housing and created a suicide hotline, the New York Times reports. “I think art is a technique for life,” Sakaguchi said. “I do what I do in order to keep living.”
HOW HAVE ARTISTS BEEN HANDLING THE PANDEMIC? The New York Times asked 75 of them a set of seven questions about what they have been making, how they have been working, and what they have been thinking about. Their answers may delight—and comfort. Anicka Yi: “There is a myth about the redistribution of time during the pandemic, that we have fewer interruptions. I’ve experienced the opposite.” Sheila Hicks: “It’s been wonderful here in Paris. We got rid of all the tourists.” Sean Scully : “Lately, I have fallen in love with yellow.” Jenny Holzer: “I’ve seen more TikTok than ever before, and now want to be pretend young.” Artnet News, too, has asked 10 artists about how their work has change during this time. Recalling the period of lockdown, George Condo said, “We couldn’t see our loved ones and had no degree of insight as to what to do but hope that within ourselves we could find the peace of mind to get through it. I had only one way, which was to paint my ‘distant figure paintings.’”
The Dutch government has said it wants to be a leader in repatriating colonial objects, and now a consortium of museums in the country is preparing to develop a book to provide guidance on the practical steps involved. Slated to begin in June, the effort is being financed with €4.5 million (about $5.37 million). [The Art Newspaper]
The new $1.9 trillion stimulus measure in the United States includes $470 million for cultural groups. [Artnet News]
The painter Pat Lipsky won a ruling in New York court “that that could make it easier for artists to protect their work from being distorted in online reproductions,” Alison Frankel writes. The artist had alleged that a gallery had posted a digital reproduction of one of his pieces on his website with “dull, muted, and lifeless colors,” distorting how it actually looked. [Reuters]
The shoe entrepreneur Stuart Weitzman is selling three of his treasured collectibles, including a 1933 Double Eagle Coin that could go for as much as $15 million, at Sotheby’s. [The New York Times]
Amid criticism, the L. A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem has nixed a plan to sell more than 250 works from its permanent collection at Sotheby’s. Qatar’s Al Thani Collection Foundation is stepping in to provide funding for the museum, and the auction house is getting an undisclosed cancellation fee. [ARTnews]
A Sam Gilliam painting from 1968 has been acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Dia Art Foundation, which has had it on loan since 2019. Dia’s director, Jessica Morgan, said that such shared buys by museums are on the rise. [Financial Times]
The Momentum 11 exhibition has released its artist list, which includes Nina Canell, Renée Green, and Charlemagne Palestine. The show’s on tap for June in Norway around the area of the Oslo Fjord. [ArtReview]
New York mayoral candidate Raymond J. McGuire, the Studio Museum’s chairman, has been garnering support from major celebrities for his campaign. One of the latest: Shaquille O’Neal, the basketball star (and erstwhile curator), who recently spoke at a virtual event for McGuire. [PageSix]
A FORMER GRAFFITI WRITER FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM, Tom Dartnell, told the South China Morning Post in a deep dive about graffiti that “Beijing is one of the last places you would expect this subculture to exist”—and yet, it is a major presence in the Chinese capital. Artists can reportedly avoid draconian punishments so long as they respect certain political limits, and one writer, Wreck, said he has actually negotiated with the police when stopped, successfully avoiding detention. Dartnell has a new book coming out with photographs of graffiti in China by Liu Yuansheng, a retiree who has been a connoisseur of the form for more than 20 years. Liu’s “the last person you would expect to be into graffiti,” Dartnell said, explaining that if you saw him “in the West taking photos of graffiti, you would think he is an undercover policeman.” [SCMP]
Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.