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APE SHALL NEVER KILL APE. The firm behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, Yuga Labs, has slapped artist Ryder Ripps with a lawsuit, alleging that he has been infringing its trademarks by selling copycat versions of those much-loved, much-reviled apes, Reuters reports. Ripps claims that those high-priced apes can be linked to “subversive internet nazi troll culture” and that the versions he has been selling are satirical appropriations. Yuga has called the accusations “slanderous.” The complaint alleges that Ripps has been confusing customers and that he has made some $5 million from the project, according to Bloomberg Law. The lawsuit states, “Copying is not satire, it is theft. And lying to consumers is not conceptual art, it is deception.”
CHURCH AND STATE. A Ghanaian politician has alleged that a $21.4 million fee paid to architect David Adjaye’s firm for designing the forthcoming National Cathedral in Accra was not approved by the country’s Parliament, Alex Greenberger reports in ARTnews. The politician, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, is demanding that the amount be repaid. A rep for the firm, Adjaye Associates , did not respond to a request for comment. Construction work on the cathedral is currently paused. Budgeted at $1 billion, the structure has been billed as a landmark destination. Head to ARTnews for more.
Saudi Arabia has tapped five artists to create permanent works in the AlUla valley for a project called Wadi AlFann (“Valley of the Arts”): James Turrell, Manal AlDowayan, Michael Heizer, Ahmed Mater, and Agnes Denes. Iwona Blazwick, who previously led the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, has been tapped to help curate the project. [The Wall Street Journal]
The Canadian government will provide CA$30 million (about US$23.4 million) in funding for the construction of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s proposed new building, which is slated to open in 2027. The museum has now raised 70 percent of its CA$400 million (US$311.4 million) goal. [Global News]
Officials with Germany’s Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation said that the country is returning many artifacts taken from Africa during the colonial period, including 23 items, like jewelry and tools, that were removed from Namibia between 1884 and 1919. [The Associated Press]
As part of promotional efforts for his new film, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, director Dean Fleischer Camp paid a visit to the storied Stettheimer Dollhouse at the Museum of the City of New York with journalist Rachel Syme. The structure is filled with miniature artworks made by friends of the home’s maker, Carrie Stettheimer, and her sisters Florine and Ettie, including Marcel Duchamp. “Probably the pleasure of making this was researching all these things with her art friends,” Camp said. [The New Yorker]
Louis Menand reviewed Hugh Eakin’s new book, Picasso’s War: How Modern Art Came to America, which charts the pioneering efforts of collector John Quinn and inaugural Museum of Modern Art director Alfred H. Barr, Jr. One intriguing fact: Quinn successfully got Congress to alter a tax law that placed heavy tariffs on artworks less than 50 years old. [The New Yorker]
ON THE MOVE. Henry S. Kim has been named director of Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta, per ArtDaily. Kim was the founding director of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. The Detroit Institute of Arts has named its first chief digital officer, Jennifer Snyder, also per ArtDaily. She is coming from SFMOMA, where she is director of digital experience. And independent curator Suzy Halajian has been named executive director and chief curator of the JOAN nonprofit art space in Los Angeles.
THIS IS HARDCORE. In the Guardian, singer-songwriter Jarvis Cocker, the longtime frontman for the band Pulp, penned an elegant panegyric to Creswell Crags , which he says has the United Kingdom’s only prehistoric cave art. Examining “a small carving of a horse’s head,” Cocker writes that he became extremely moved and almost cried. “I suddenly got a strong mental image of somebody, back in prehistory, probably laid on their back in this cramped, dark space, using whatever was at hand to make these marks on the wall,” he says. Art is long. Life is short. [The Guardian]