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FIGHTS DOWN UNDER. On Friday, art critic Christopher Allen wrote a column for the Australian arguing that the nation’s public museums are operated by “a sub-intellectual class, which is to say people who are neither intelligent and bold enough to reason for themselves nor willing to take the risk of asking dangerous questions.” Naturally, some in the field took exception! The National Gallery’s director, Nick Mitzevich, told a Senate committee that art critics have an “extraordinary history” of “getting it wrong” and defended his organization’s work as “a science.” Meanwhile, the design and mission of the Sydney Modern—a massive expansion of the Art Gallery of New South Wales that opened last year—has been generating debate, with some questioning whether it will be adequately funded going forward, the Guardian reports. Allen, for his part, compared the SANAA-designed project to “a shopping mall.”
TREASURES UNDER THE EARTH. Archaeologists working at the ancient Greek city of Paestum, near Pompeii in Italy, dug up a joyous terracotta figurine that shows the god Eros astride a dolphin, the Associated Press reports. It is believed to date back to the 5th century B.C.E., and it is a charmer. ● Over in central Peru, researchers at the Huanuco Pampa archaeological zone found an Inca bathing complex from around 500 years ago that may have been used by elites, Reuters reports. The baths average over six feet in depth. Sounds very relaxing. ● In the eastern China, an archaeological team will undertake new excavations at the neolithic site of Sanxingcun, near the lower part of the Yangtze, the South China Morning Post report. The area was first studied in the mid-90s, and has yielded more than 4,000 artifacts and bones.
Hong Kong’s arts council said that it has pulled some HK$1 million (about $127,000) it provided to two projects because they may have violated the city’s national security law. It did not release details, but in July 2021 funds were reportedly cut from a film company that distributed a doc about the 2019 protests. [South China Morning Post]
Michelle Cotton has been tapped to lead the Kunsthalle Wien in Austria. She is currently program director at Luxembourg’s MUDAM (aka the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art) and is taking the place of the collective What, How & for Whom, which was pushed out late last year. She starts in the summer of 2024. [ArtReview]
Architect Liz Diller (of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which did the most recent MoMA expansion and the High Line) answered “21 Questions” from Curbed. She only wears black, would like to hang out with Marcel Duchamp, and enjoys Top Chef, Chopped, and Masterchef. [Curbed]
Artist Miguel Ángel Payano Jr., who has a show up at Charles Moffett in New York, got the profile treatment from Siddhartha Mitter, who writes that his “art is breaking ground: He has perfected what he calls his ‘heavy collages,’ three-dimensional paintings that hang on the wall but also jut out with sculptural components.” [The New York Times]
American Express has opened a luxe 55th-floor restaurant in Manhattan for holders of its rare Centurion Card (the black card) with food by Daniel Boulud, a “Fragrance Wellness Journey” with Diptyque, and art on the walls by Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus, and many more. A few seats can be booked by the hoi polloi. [Bloomberg]
Loro Piana’s Summer Walk loafers are “a casual slip-on shoe of an almost insulting purity,” and have become popular with “Wall Street wolves and the Silicon Valley tycoons,” Martín Bianchi writes in El País. The shoe’s fans are said to include shipping heir Stavros Niarchos and dealer Larry Gagosian. [El País]
THE ARTIST’S WAY. With a well-received survey at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,painter Cecily Brown is the toast of New York right now. It was not always so. When Brown was getting started in New York in the 1990s, “people really were anti-painting, and sometimes quite rightly, I think,” she told the Guardian. “I resented the fact that I was a painter.” For a period, she actually “wished I could make cool Cibachromes or sculptures, or think like a conceptual artist,” she added. Thank goodness she stayed with her passion. [The Guardian]