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The Headlines

A COURT IN IRAQhasoverturned a verdictthat led to a 15-year sentence for a British man charged with antiquities smuggling,BBC Newsreports. He had been accused of trying to take a dozen stones and pottery shards out of the country. The man,Jim Fitton, and his representatives have maintained that heintended to keep them as souvenirs, and that he had been encouraged to take them by a tour guide. Fitton was stopped atBaghdad International Airportin March. The sentence had generated international outcry. The court has reportedly declared him innocent and ordered his release.

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21 March 2019, Lower Saxony, Wolfsburg:

German Museum Dismantles Damien Hirst Installation in Which Flies Die After PETA Complaint

Brit Sentenced to 15 Years for Antiquities Smuggling in Iraq, Mick Jagger Visits the Reina Sofía, and More: Morning Links for June 7, 2022

DECISION DAY.Holders of aDamien HirstCurrencyNFT have until 3 p.m. today (BST)to decidewhether to trade it in for the dot-covered artwork linked to it, or to keep the digital token, theGuardianreports. Precisely 10,000 of those tokens were minted, and as of yesterday, some 4,180 have been switched, the real replacing the virtual. The plan is for Hirstto destroyall the uncollected works—paintings on paper—by burning them in September at hisNewport Street Galleryin London, according to theArt Newspaperreports. In other NFT news involving famous artists, holders ofTakashi Murakami’sMurakami.Flowertoken as of July 10will get a special T-shirt, perNFT Culture.

The Digest

Incheon Airportin South Korea has nixed efforts to establish a satellite of a major European museum, following a feasibility study that highlighted budget constraints. The airport had reportedly considered partners like theCentre Pompidou,Tate Modern, and theLouvre.[The Korea Herald]

For a retrospective of artistGlyn Philpot(1884–1937) atPallant House Galleryin Chichester, England, curators changed the titles of some of the closely observed portraits that Philpot made of Black sitters (an unusual subject for a white artist of his time), in order to elucidate who they were.[The New York Times]

A 41-year-old Chinese artist who goes by the nameNut Brother“has developed a knack for highlighting overlooked environmental and social issues in China using quirky, social media-ready performance art that can slip through the cracks in China’s tightly controlled media environment,”Christian ShepherdandVic Chiangwrite in a profile.[The Washington Post]

ASotheby’ssale of space memorabilia from astronautBuzz Aldrinhauled in $8 million, with a jacket that he wore for theApollo 11mission going for $2.7 million. The house termed that garment “the most valuable American space-flown artifact ever sold at auction.”[Associated PressandThe New York Times]

ArtistDevin Kennyreleased a digital artwork that was commissioned for theWhitney Museum of American Art’sartport. The piece “explores artificial intelligence (AI) in the context of art institutions, creativity, collaboration, and labor,” the museum says.[artport/Whitney]

Socialite and art collectorLibbie Mugrabialleged that she had half a million dollars worth of clothes, jewelry, and other belongings stolen from her while staying at a resort in Ibiza.[Page Six]

The Kicker

DECISIVE MOMENTS.The storied Italian photographerFerdinando Sciannawasprofiled bytheGuardian, and he uncorks so many great quotes that it is almost impossible to select a single line. But here is one. Discussing what he views as a crisis in photography that emerged in recent decades, Scianna said, “Today we all take photos with our phones, but they are background images. Even a selfie is not a self-portrait but a kind of neurosis about a moment of existence that must immediately supplant another, and so on.” In any case, these days he’s “thinking about new books, exhibitions, working on my archive,” he said.[The Guardian]