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WHEN THE LONGTIME SAMSUNG LEADER LEE KUN-HEE DIED LAST YEAR at the age of 78, speculation began about what would happen to his formidable collection of ancient Korean and contemporary art. His heirs are said to be facing a tax bill from the South Korean government in the realm of 11 trillion won (about $10 billion), and sales of his holdings could help cover that. The Korea Herald reports that the process of appraising pieces in the collection, by Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, and other huge names, is expected to be finished by the end of the month. Some politicians have been lobbying for a change in the country’s tax law that would allow artwork donations to go toward taxes. “If a museum in Korea can receive even half of the collection’s works by foreign artists, I think it can become a world-class art museum,” one unnamed expert told the paper.
THE ART MARKET IS A HANDSHAKE BUSINESS, IT IS OFTEN SAID. For a case study in what can go awry in that environment, consider the case of the $1.4 million Yayoi Kusama pumpkin, as told by May Jeong in Town & Country. The art adviser Angela Gulbenkian has been accused of offering that Kusama sculpture, collecting payment for it, and then not actually delivering the work, claiming that there were various logistical delays. It is a complicated tale that reveals how reputations are built (or assumed) in the opaque art world and how deals get done. There are allegations of other improprieties by Gulbenkian, but the Kusama was the piece that tanked her, according to the report. “She even had special wallpaper designed with large pink dots inspired by the pumpkin,” said an interior designer. Gulbenkian is scheduled to stand trial in the United Kingdom this year.
The Moscow Union of Artists says that more than 700 artists in the city are being evicted from their studios as part of a government renovation plan. [The Art Newspaper]
The statue of Rosa Parks in President’s Biden’s Oval Office is the work of Detroit sculptor Artis Lane. [ClickOnDetroit]
The University of Iowa is on track to open a $50 million, 60,000-square-foot building for its Stanley Museum of Art next year. [The Gazette]
Art consultant and curator Laura Domencic has been named director of the Erie Art Museum in Pennsylvania. The job was vacated last January when Joshua Helmer was forced out amid allegations of sexual harassment. [Artforum]
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, is mulling a name change after an investigation highlighted the racist legacy of one of its namesakes, William Rockhill Nelson. [Artnet News]
The ritzy town of Southampton out on New York’s Long Island is requiring landlords to display art on in storefronts that have been vacant for a month. [The Wall Street Journal]
Police are looking for a man who left a suspicious package outside the Portland Museum of Art in Maine. [Portland Press Herald]
Writer Karl Ove Knausgaard is a fan of the art of Mamma Andersson, the television show The Bureau, and the recent Spike Lee–directed concert film American Utopia. [The Guardian]
Artist Deborah Roberts got the profile treatment from Lane Florsheim. She has a new show at the Contemporary Austin. [WSJ. Magazine]
The artist Lucienne Rickard has spent 16 months making meticulous drawings of endangered species—and then erasing them. [The Guardian]
A rare bottle of Macallan whisky could sell for more than £1 million ($1.37 million) next month, putting it in the hunt for a world record. (If you acquire this bottle and would like to share, we can be reached at email@example.com. Story tips are welcome there, too.)
Artist-turned-fashion-entrepreneur Sterling Ruby has been invited to Paris’s haute couture week, and notes that, with his work, “the designer’s hand is on each and every garment.” [Financial Times]
Actor and artist Sylvester Stallone planning to list his home in the Beverly Park area of Los Angeles for as much as $130 million, according to Architectural Digest. The 21,000-square-foot abode has eight bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a full bar, a huge swimming pool, and, if photos available online are to be believed, “a home office that is currently loaded with Rocky memorabilia, including a life-size statue of Stallone’s most iconic role,” AD says. Last year, the painter unloaded another huge home in Southern California. Why? He’s said to be planning to retire in Florida. [Architectural Digest]
Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.