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THE FATE OF ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT ART COLLECTIONS is coming into focus. Since the Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee died last October in Seoul, there has been vigorous speculation about what would become of his art holdings, which could be worth more than $2 billion. Hints have trickled out recently, and now Yonhap reports that the long-awaited plan is likely to be revealed next week , with many traditional and modern works going to major South Korean museums. Some pieces may also be donated to smaller institutions in areas where the artists who made them once lived. One big question is what will become of Lee’s Western work. Some have worried that it could be sold off and leave the country, to help cover his estate’s huge tax bill. That is sounding increasingly unlikely. An unnamed Samsung “insider” told the Korea Herald that “Samsung’s growth is largely attributed to Koreans. It is nonsense to sell off the collection abroad to pay the inheritance tax.”
THE VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS’ DIRECTOR, Alex Nyerges, announced that the Richmond institution has received a “generous gift” from patrons Monroe Harris Jr. and Jill Bussey Harris that “offers significant support for the museum’s continued efforts to expand and exhibit its collection of contemporary work by Black artists.” A gallery at the VMFA will be named in their honor. Monroe Harris Jr. was elected as the museum’s first African-American board president in 2018.
A rare Yoshitomo Nara painting from 2000 will be offered in a joint sale by Phillips and Poly Auction in Hong Kong and Beijing. Its estimate is unlisted, but the houses expect it to rank among the most expensive Naras ever sold. [ARTnews]
Susan H. Edwards, who has led the Frist Art Museum in Nashville since 2004, said that she will retire this year. She was the second chief of the museum, which opened in 2001. [Nashville Tennessean]
Organizers of the Burning Man festival in Nevada said that they are considering a plan that would require all attendees prove that they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The rollicking event is current scheduled for August, but a decision will be made at the end of the month on whether to go ahead with it. [Associated Press]
A three-year study of four contemporaneous Picasso paintings stored under identical conditions has revealed why one has deteriorated faster than the others: he painted it on a canvas with a tighter weave and used more animal glue. That led to more stress on the work when the painting sat through climate changes. [The Art Newspaper]
You don’t hear a lot about lithophanes these days, but there is a museum devoted to the unusual medium in Ohio that just opened in a new location. (Lithophanes, for the uninitiated, are translucent artworks, typically etched, that are backlit when exhibited.) [13 ABC]
Stained glass also doesn’t tend to get a ton of play, but the Judson stained glass studio in Los Angeles is working to change that by collaborating with contemporary artists. [The New York Times]
Artist Anna Chojnicka has developed a big following for the art she makes by bruising banana peels. She got started as a result of lockdown boredom. [The Washington Post]
The Pageant of the Masters, which showcases tableaux vivants of iconic paintings in Laguna Beach, California, is coming back after a Covid-induced hiatus last year. [Voice of OC]
FOR HIS NEW SHOW AT THE FONDATION BEYELER in Basel, Switzerland, the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has removed a wall of the Renzo Piano–conceived building, the Art Newspaper reports. (Apparently the architect signed off on it.) He’s also flooded the galleries with green water that people can explore atop walkways. The show is open 24 hours a day. “Together with the museum, I am giving up control over the artwork, so to speak,” the artist said, “handing it over to human and non-human visitors, to plants, microorganisms, the weather, the climate—many of these elements that museums usually work very hard to keep out.” The work is called Life. [The Art Newspaper]
Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.