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ATTENDANCE AT THE TOP 100 ART MUSEUMS AROUND THE WORLD was down 77 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the Art Newspaper‘s annual attendance survey. That report typically provides a chance for museums to take a victory lap for well-attended blockbusters. This year it is stark picture of just how dramatically their audiences declined amid the global pandemic. In the top 10, the Metropolitan Museum of Art saw the steepest decline by percentage, 83 percent; it was closed a whopping 202 days because of the pandemic, exceeded by only the British Museum, which was shuttered for 208. (A caveat: closure data was not available for two institutions in that top decile.) As usual, the Louvre won the contest, with 2.7 million visitors, a decline of 72 percent on 150 days of Covid-caused closure. Alison Cole, TAN’s editor, noted in an interview with the Guardian that normally “more than 9 million people would jostle to see the Mona Lisa.”
THE GETTY CENTER IN LOS ANGELES has acquired an Artemisia Gentileschi painting, Lucretia, from about 1627, and said it will be on view when it reopens “in the coming weeks,” the Los Angeles Times reports. The Getty acquired it from an anonymous seller, according to the Times. The painting—which shows the titular Roman figure about to stab herself, as the legend tells it—sold at auction in Paris in November of 2019 for nearly €4.8 million (about $6.1 million), ARTnews reported then. That set a record for the artist on the block. The Getty already owns two Gentileschis, though they are Orazio Gentileschis (her father), LAT critic Christopher Knight notes. Artemisia, a pioneering woman in the 17th-century Italian art world, has seen her market and name-recognition pop in recent years, as curators have paid newfound attention to female artists throughout art history.
Artist Tony Martin, who created light shows for the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, painted extensively, and made pioneering work using early digital technologies, died last Wednesday. He was 83. [Artforum]
The billionaire Czech art collector Petr Kellner died this past weekend in a helicopter crash in Alaska. He was 56. Kellner was the founder of the PPF investment firm, which runs exhibition spaces in Prague. [Artnet News]
A fire at a storage building in São Paulo may have resulted in the destruction of artworks held there by leading art galleries. The extent of the damage is still being assessed. [ArtReview]
Palace intrigue! Jean-Luc Martinez, who is hoping to be appointed to a third term as the Louvre’s president, is said to be facing strong, last-minute competition for the job. There has been “a downpour of stink-bombs” of late, according to Le Figaro. [The Art Newspaper]
Lorne M. Buchman, the president of ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, will retire next year, after more than a decade at the helm. “It’s been such a joy, absolutely the best job of my life,” he said. [Los Angeles Times]
The National Gallery in Washington, D.C., has hired Damon Reaves as its head of education. Reeves is coming from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he was a staffer for a decade, currently serving as interim senior curator of education and public programs. [Culture Type]
Speaking of the Philadelphia Museum, Frank Gehry’s overhaul of the institution is on tap to be unveiled May 7, after four years of construction work. The project has added new galleries and public spaces to the PMA’s home, which dates back to 1928. [Designboom]
Pablo Picasso’s Massacre in Korea, which he painted during the Korean War, in 1951, will be shown in South Korea for the first time, in an exhibition of works from Paris’s Musée Picasso at the Hangaram Arts Center Museum in Seoul. The work depicts soldiers aiming guns at naked, unarmed women and children. [Yonhap]
BRITISH ARTIST GRAYSON PERRY HAS COMMISSIONED A BELL that he plans to ring when the Covid-19 pandemic concludes, the Art Newspaper reports, in a story that dives deep into the history and status of the Whitechapel foundry in London. Perry’s instrument will apparently be about 40 inches in diameter and clock in at a ton. The artist admitted there is one potential issue right now: “When is the end of this pandemic? When we in Britain go back to ‘normal’ life, when the world returns to some kind of normal? The disease will probably be with us in some form forever.” [The Art Newspaper]
Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.