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THE WAR IN UKRAINE continues to reverberate in the art world. The estate of French artist Christian Boltanski canceled a show of his work set to open this month at the Manege Central Exhibition Hall in St. Petersburg, saying that exhibiting “in a country that is militarily invading his father’s homeland would be contradictory to his thinking, his philosophy, and his works,” the Art Newspaper reports. (The artist’s roots go back to Jewish immigrants from Odessa, Ukraine.) Vanity Fair reports that shows by Anne Imhof and Helen Marten at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow are also off. And two museums in Milan, Italy, are sending works back to the Russian institutions that loaned them, after they requested their return, per Reuters. Many European countries have also pulled loans from shows in Russia.
THE PIONEERING, PROLIFIC ARCHITECT GYO OBATA died on Tuesday at the age of 99 in St. Louis, the Associated Press reports. Obata’s projects included the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the Galleria malls in Dallas and Houston, and the the Priory Chapel at Saint Louis Abbey. The last is a striking modernist structure with an undulating white roof that, in 1962, Time magazine termed “the newest and perhaps most striking round church in the U.S.,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes. Obata was also a pivotal figure in the development of today’s sprawling architectural practices, the paper notes. In 1955, he was involved in establishing the Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum firm, which now has 24 offices and north of 1,600 employees.
A redevelopment plan for the Southbank arts precinct in Melbourne, Australia, by SO–IL and Hassell, won approval from the Victoria state government, despite the city council voicing concerns about possible “urban blight.” The project, priced at AUD$1.7 billion (about USD$1.25 billion), includes a new contemporary art gallery. [The Age]
In a four-month operation aimed at combating illegal trafficking in cultural objects, more than 9,000 items were confiscated and 52 people were arrested in 28 countries, according to Interpol, which coordinated the initiative with Europol and the World Customs Organization. [The Guardian and Artnet News]
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, has acquired the archive of the late author Eve Babitz, which includes “art, manuscripts, journals, photographs, and correspondence,” Dorany Pineda reports. Collages and drawings by Babitz are included in the trove. [Los Angeles Times]
HUMAN RESOURCES. The deputy director of Dallas Contemporary since 2019, Carolina Alvarez Mathies, has been made its director, Artforum reports. In New York, the Guggenheim Museum welcomed to its board of trustees Frank Yu, founder of Ally Bridge Group, a life science investment group.
THE LIVES OF THE ARTISTS. With a new show at Gagosian in New York, Walton Ford is in Vogue. About to open a survey at the Queens Museum in the same city, Suzanne Lacy is in the New York Times. The shadowy NFT creator Pak (“I’ve never considered myself an artist,” they said) is in Tatler . And the controversy-courting art collective MSCHF, which is launching a shoe line, is in the Wall Street Journal.
FIGHTING WORDS. The feisty, freethinking artist Franco Mazzucchelli—who gained attention via wild inflatable pieces in the 1970s—is the subject of a feature in Domus, which reports that he will have work at the Venice Biennale this year in the pavilion of the Syrian Arab Republic. Mazzucchelli has been at it for many decades now, but it has not always been easy for him. “In the 1980s, I experienced a decade of almost total creative silence,” Domus quotes him saying in 2020. “Looking around, I realized that the highly criticized commodification of art had remained the rule and, above all, the legitimate interest, pleasure, and desire of every artist to sell his or her works was being masked by a complex and equally uncertain ideological apparatus. The truth is that all artists, sooner or later, make awry decoration.” He still kept going. Thank goodness. [Domus]