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CAPITAL PROJECTS. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., has tapped Selldorf Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to renovate the interior of its Gordon Bunshaft–designed home and its plaza, the Washington Post reports, describing it as “the largest physical reimagining of the museum in its history.” Details are still being worked out, but the plan is to add exhibition space, improve accessibility, and fix up other aspects of its infrastructure. Construction is slated for 2025. “It’s really about re-envisioning the museum for the 21st century,” the Hirshhorn’s director, Melissa Chiu, told the Post. Last year, the museum of modern and contemporary art won approval for artist Hiroshi Sugimoto’s proposal to rework its sculpture garden.
BILLIONAIRE ARTS PATRON DAVID GEFFEN is the subject of a write-around profile by Adam Nagourney in the New York Times that focuses on his nine-figure gifts to institutions like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and Yale University. Some interesting tidbits: Geffen (an ARTnews Top 200 Collector) once said that he has not flown on a commercial plane since 1979, and his first visit to the new David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York was to attend its inaugural gala last week. While the entertainment mogul did not speak for the story, Lincoln Center’s board chair, Katherine G. Farley, did, and said that he told her, of the redesign he put $100 million toward, “I want to leave this in your hands: I don’t need any input on the selection of the architect and driving the design.”
Speaking of Selldorf Architects and museum renovations: Architect Edward Jones slammed the firm’s proposed renovation of the National Gallery in London, arguing that its proposal to move the building’s entrance from Trafalgar Square “to a side street is an act of vandalism.” [The Art Newspaper]
A memorial service for the late diplomat, private equity giant, and art collector Donald Blinken was held Monday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Those in attendance included Pace Gallery founder Arne Glimcher, Met director Max Hollein, collector Ronald Lauder, and President Biden. [New York Post]
A video circulating on the internet that appears to be a report from the broadcaster Eurostar about a German auction house selling Russian artists’ work to benefit Ukraine’s armed forces, and then destroying the material, is a fake. The firm in the video, Bolland & Marotz, said it “is outraged that our name is being misused for it.” [Reuters]
Today in London, the first show of artist Sarah Biffin (1784–1850) in a century opens at Philip Mould & Company. A master miniaturist, Biffin had no arms and taught herself to sew and paint. In 2019, a work estimated at £1,800 sold at auction for £137,000. [The Guardian]
The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco has named a new chief of curatorial affairs and public programs: Key Jo Lee. She is coming from the Cleveland Museum of Art, where she is currently associate curator of American art. [Cleveland.com]
The controversial 19th-century archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann is a “classic example of what a late-career outsider can achieve,” Robin Lane Fox writes, in a rollicking column about the trader-turned-adventurer whom some consider “a vandal, a liar, a fantasist, and a thief.” [Financial Times]
TECH UPGRADE. The market for NFTs may have cooled lately, but museums are continuing to work with artists who are experimenting with those digital tokens, Zachary Small reports in the New York Times. One juicy anecdote comes from Christiane Paul, who was recently named digital art curator at the Whitney Museum in New York after almost two decade as an adjunct. “Usually I had to sell the idea of digital art to the upper administrative levels,” Paul told the Times. “Now trustees are coming to me and asking if the Whitney should be in the metaverse.” [NYT]