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IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN. With some European countries once again going into lockdown to combat coronavirus outbreaks, museums are closing—and blockbuster shows are going off view. Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, for one, has had to shutter a big-ticket Titian survey as Austria is locking down until December 13. “We are going to lose millions of euros,” Sabine Haag, its director general, told Artnet News. Meanwhile, the German state of Saxony is locking down until December 12, putting a Vermeer exhibition at Dresden’s Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister on ice, the Art Newspaper reports. It quotes Marion Ackermann, the city’s museum’s chief, saying that the move is “very regrettable” but “unavoidable.” The Vermeer show is scheduled to run until January 2, and reportedly cannot be held open longer since a version of it is due to alight in Japan later in the month.
TWO STORIED ARCHITECTURAL FIGURES HAVE PASSED. The pioneering Black architect Nathan Johnson, who created dozens of eye-catching modernist churches in Detroit, as well as residences, campuses, and a great deal more, has died at 96, Penelope Green reports in the New York Times. “In Detroit we say there’s a church on every corner, but Johnson created some of the more iconic ones,” journalist Ken Coleman told the paper. And in Los Angeles, the experimental-minded architect Bernard Judge has died at 90 in “a treehouse-inspired home perched on four steel columns against a steep slope in the Hollywood Hills” that he designed, Carolina A. Miranda writes in the L.A. Times. Judge’s life included developing plans for a lodge for actor Marlon Brando on an atoll in French Polynesia and residing in a Buckminster Fuller –style geodesic dome. A champion of affordable materials, he once said, “Man should not have to spend most of his working life paying for the roof over his head.”
New auction records have been set for giants of American art at Christie’s. A trippy 1935 Arthur Dove landscape went for a zesty $7.8 million with premium (above a $3 million high estimate), and a Paul Cadmus 1942 double portrait set on a farm soared to $2.4 million, all-in, at Sotheby’s, trouncing its $500,000 top estimate. [The Art Newspaper]
Mark S. Weil, an art collector, Washington University art history professor, and longtime supporter of the St. Louis Art Museum, died last week at 82. Earlier this month, Weil and his wife, Joan M. Hall, donated 24 pieces to the museum, bringing his total number of gifts to more than 200. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Jasmina Cibic has won the Film London Jarman Award, which is given annually to an artist working with moving images in the United Kingdom. It comes with £10,000 (about $13,400). In a Guardian interview, she discussed how her experience growing up amid the collapse of Yugoslavia has shaped her worldview and her practice. [Ocula and The Guardian]
The Portland Museum of Art and a union formed last year have agreed on their first contract. Maida Rosenstein, the president of United Auto Workers Local 2110, which represents about 40 PMA employees, said that the “negotiations were not contentious,” while the ongoing talks at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she is directing union efforts, “have been somewhat contentious.” [Portland Press Herald]
Can Saks Fifth Avenue interest you in a $25 million, 80-pound, diamond-decked sculpture of a graffiti-covered astronaut by artists Brendan Murphy and Johnathan Schultz? The company’s CEO explained, “We are really trying to pivot away from being a store to buy goods. We want to be at the crossroads of art and fashion.” [New York Post]
In a wide-ranging interview, NFT kingpin Beeple offered this prognostication: “I think a piece that continues to change is much more akin to the full potential of digital art. Pieces that adapt and evolve with us—I believe that this is the future of art.” [Quartz]
A SEND-OFF IN STYLE. After more than a quarter-century leading the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, which she founded, curator Rebecca Hoffberger is retiring next year, and the inimitable filmmaker, collector, and artist John Waters celebrated her with what he termed a “non-roast” at a gala for the institution last week. Baltimore Fishbowl has the full transcript . “She didn’t even pay herself a salary for the first 16 years she worked here,” Waters said. “That’s fucking crazy. She’s a tree-hugging, high-heeled, earth shoe, granola princess who believes in magic potions and healing. A dreamer-schemer who actually got her start as a mime, the lowest-level entry in show business.” And he was just getting started. [Baltimore Bowl]