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NEW YORK DEALER HELLY NAHMAD NABBED A PARDON from President Trump in the closing hours of his administration. In 2014, Nahmad was sentenced to one year in prison and financial penalties after pleading guilty in federal court to running an illegal gambling ring. He served about five months. Nahmad, who is a member of a powerhouse art-dealing family, has long resided in Trump Tower in Manhattan. He’s amassed all of the units on the 51st floor of the building over the years, paying $18.4 million, Bloomberg reported in 2016. “Since his conviction,” a White House statement reads, “he has lived an exemplary life and has been dedicated to the well-being of his community.”
NAOMI BECKWITH IS NOT ALONE IN DEPARTING THE MCA CHICAGO. For a decade, Michael Darling has been the chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in the Windy City. Now he is set to leave to join a startup called Museum Exchange as a co-founder and chief growth officer, Steve Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports. The company bills itself on its website as a “digital platform for art donations, enabling collectors to donate works of art to museums across North America,” and says its goal is to “unlock philanthropy nationwide.” Art advisers David Moos and Robert Wainstein are listed as co-founders there. Darling, who staged Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh shows at the MCA, told the Tribune that he decided to depart after “thinking about equity” and wanting to allow for a “changing of the guard.” Beckwith, the MCA’s senior curator, was tapped last week to be the Guggenheim’s new deputy director and chief curator, Alex Greenberger reported in ARTnews.
BOZAR—the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels—will remain closed at least until Monday, following a fire, so that the damage can be assessed. It appears that no artworks were harmed. [The Brussels Times]
Roger Mandle, whose long career in art included serving as executive director of the Qatar Museums Authority, died at 79. The cause was cancer. [The New York Times]
Many museums are becoming distribution centers for the coronavirus vaccine. [The Art Newspaper]
Lebanon returned two 18th-century icons to Greece. They had been stolen in 2016 from an Athens exhibition. [AFP]
A Pennsylvania artist was charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct for allegedly being part of the storming of the U.S. Capitol. [The Art Newspaper]
Everette Taylor, Artsy’s chief marketing officer, has a home filled with art by Sam Gilliam, Vaughn Spann, Genevieve Gaignard, and many more. [Architectural Digest]
The miniature-art trend won’t quit! The Little Free Art Gallery in Seattle is housed in a small box on a Seattle street. Works are free for the taking. [The Washington Post]
A sealed box set of Pokémon cards from 1999 sold for a record $408,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. [Antique Trader]
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, is asking artists to share work related to the Buffalo Bills football team. It will post some pieces on social media. [WGRZ]
Writer Caroline Busta on counterculture in the age of social media: “To be truly countercultural today, in a time of tech hegemony, one has to, above all, betray the platform, which may come in the form of betraying or divesting from your public online self.” [Document Journal]
Video-art maestro Tony Oursler, who has a retrospective opening at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts in Taiwan this week, discusses tech in a new profile in the Hong Kong Tatler. Says Oursler: “Television was really a drug, but it was never really controlled like a drug, but I think it should’ve been in retrospect. And I think people are now realizing the same thing about smartphones. [Hong Kong Tatler]
Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.