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UNIVERSITY PROTESTS. As pro-Palestinian student protests intensify today, art students and faculty continue to join in demonstrations across US campuses and cities. Late last week, Rhoda Rosen, a curator and adjunct art history professor at the SAIC told gathered demonstrators: “We support your vision of the School of The Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and we believe that it’s achievable, a vision that imagines what it would be like to be a part of a community that divests from those funds that support the destruction of Palestinian culture.” Rosen is also a member of the Advisory Council of the European Shoah Legacy Institute. Members of Columbia’s Visual Arts and Music faculty also reportedly issued a letter in support of students’ rights to assembly and free speech.

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Visitors take pictures of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" (La Joconde), at the Louvre Museum, in Paris, on April 17, 2024. (Photo Antonin UTZ / AFP) (Photo ANTONIN UTZ/AFP via Getty Images)

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ARTIST ARREST. A Saudi Arabian artist and activist who advocated for female empowerment was secretly sentenced to 11 years in prison following her November 2022 arrest. She was convicted for what the Saudi government called “terrorist offenses,” and urging an end to male guardianship rules. Manahel al-Otaibi is described as an artist and fitness instructor, who used social media to promote feminism. The Saudi government has been working to soften its image as a dictatorship by relaxing laws against women’s freedoms, partly in the hopes of rebranding as an international arts and cultural hub. However, “with this sentence the Saudi authorities have exposed the hollowness of their much-touted women’s rights reforms in recent years and demonstrated their chilling commitment to silencing peaceful dissent,” said Bissan Fakih of Amnesty International, reports The Guardian.


Artist Kristen Visbal, who sculpted the Fearless Girl bronze statue facing the New York Stock Exchange in a stance of defiance, has reached an agreement with the State Street Global Advisors firm that commissioned it, ending a lawsuit. Visbal was accused of selling replicas of her own sculpture in breach of contract, which she denied. [The New York Times]

Reporting from the second edition of the Talking Galleries conference in New York, ARTnews’ Karen Ho shares some of the many highlights, ranging from Sotheby’s noting a growing shift to private sales, and candid comments from Museum of Modern Art director Glenn Lowery, who admitted he does “sweat bullets” over an additional $110 million the institution has to raise annually. [ARTnews]

The FBI is restituting a Nazi-looted pastel drawing by Claude Monet to the heirs of its owner in an “amicable agreement.” Bord de Mer had belonged to Adalbert and Hilda Parlagi, who fled Vienna after Germany annexed Austria, and left their belongings in storage that was soon seized by the Gestapo. [Artnet News]

Eugène Delacroix’s masterpiece, Liberty Leading the People (1830), has been restored and rehung in the Louvre, but not before divulging a few surprises. Years of overpainting and varnish formed a yellow film masking its colors and brushstrokes, while new imaging techniques revealed the position of figures had been modified, including that of Liberty, seen holding the French flag at the center of the composition. [Le Quotidien de l’Art]

Abraham Lincoln’s first direct military action against Confederate states, which set in motion the “Anaconda Plan” early in the Civil War, will go on public display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Illinois. The historic document was donated to the museum by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and M.K. Pritzker. [The Chicago Sun Times]

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York returned two 11th-century sculptures to Thailand and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Thai culture ministry on their commitment to “furthering the world’s understanding and appreciation of Thai art and culture.” [Art Asia Pacific]

The Iranian-French graphic artist Marjane Satrapi has won the 2024 Princess of Asturias Foundation award for communication and humanities, announced the Spanish organization. Satrapi, known for her book and film Persepolis, was described by judges as “an essential voice in the defense of human rights and freedom,” and “a symbol of civic engagement led by women.” [The Associated Press]


NEW READING. California-based author Rachel Khong‘s much-anticipated second novel, Real Americans, has been released; it features multigenerational protagonists from the same family in three, interconnected novella-like sections told from their different perspectives. One of them, Lily, is an art historian who admits: “I wasn’t the sort of person who yearned to shape a landscape. I wanted only to observe it.” She gets quickly engaged to a “distractingly hot” asset manager, only to discover later a secret connection between his parents and her own. “An element of fantasy fuses” the book, writes Rhoda Feng, for NPR. While it also “wrestles with issues of class, race and the genetic component of disease. Though largely a work of social realism, it has a touch of science fiction, with characters experiencing ‘blips’ in existence, when time itself seems to get stuck,” adds The Associated Press.