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THE GAME IS AFOOT.Ever sinceJean Siméon Chardin’s dazzlingBasket of Wild Strawberries(1761) sold atArtcurialin Paris in March for about$26.9 million, many have been speculating about the identity of the buyer. Nowthe secret is out: It is the treasure-filledKimbell Art Museumin Fort Worth, Texas, theArt Newspaper Francereports. However, the work may not go on view in the Lone Star State anytime soon—or ever. TheLouvrehas called for the work to be declared a national treasure, and under French law it has two-and-a-half yearsto preempt the saleby raising the money needed to buy it. It is working to make that happen. “I agree that the painting is a national treasure of France,” the Kimbell’s director,Eric Lee,toldtheNew York Times. “But I also believe that it is a world treasure and could serve as an ambassador of French culture.”
NFT-Y NEWS.The NFT market may not be looking so hot,by some measures, but it continues to generate headlines. Vienna’sLeopold Museumisreadying a fundraising saleof NFTs based on 24 pieces byEgon Schiele, theFinancial Timesreports, including a little-seen early painting. Luxury giantHermèsisdueling in courtwith artistMason Rothschildover his “MetaBirkins” NFTs, which depict those much-loved accessories covered in fur,Bloombergreports. The firm says Mason is violating their trademark. Mason maintains that his project is First Amendment–protected art. And Ukrainian dealerLika Spivakovskahas been working with Puerto Rico’sLighthousegallery to sell NFTs ofart damaged in the war in Ukraine, or made during it, theNew York Timesreports. The funds are going to artists and relief efforts.
Most art museums have been quiet in the wake of the leak of theU.S. Supreme Courtdraft opinion overturningRoe v. Wade,Jori Finkelwrites, but the newInstitute of Contemporary Art San Franciscosaid that it will make its space available to abortion-rights activists seeking “a space to convene, fundraise, etc.”[The Art Newspaper]
Meanwhile, organizers of the 2020 exhibition “Abortion Is Normal” are at work on a second edition,Tessa Solomonreports. Artists are also speaking out,Angelica Villawrites. “The striking down of Roe should come as a surprise to no one. And if it does, they haven’t been paying attention,”Barbara Krugersaid.[ARTnewsandARTnews]
ArchaeologistAbdulamir Al-Hamdani, who was Iraq’s culture minister from 2018 to 2020, has died at the age of 55 of brain cancer. “One of his remarkable achievements was creating a digital database and atlas of about 15,000 archaeological sites in Iraq, which took about 15 years of his career,” a colleague,Bijan Rouhani, said.[The Art Newspaper]
TheStudio Driftartistic team nixed a performance in Hamburg, Germany, involving illuminated drones after drones from an unknown source interrupted and crashed into their own. Officials are investigating.[ArtReview]
In her Brooklyn home, interior decoratorCourtney O’Sullivandisplays a replica ofPicasso’sGuernica(1937) that she commissioned from a group of art students. “When I look at it, [I] see the fun of their collaboration,” O’Sullivan said.[Architectural Digest]
THE CITY OF LIGHT LIGHTS UP.Paris has long been seen as “a place with excellent museums but sleepy galleries run by conservative, change-averse dealers,”Noora Brarawrites inT: The New York Times Style Magazine. Butthat has been changing, Brara reports. Many new institutions and galleries have been opening, and collectors are coming through town, dealerKamel Mennoursaid. “All of that has reinstated thelumièreof the city. It was unimaginable a few years ago, even to me, that it would grow to be what it is today. But Paris is moving, it’s booming, it’s the place to be.”[T]