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PRINCETON SPIRIT. The Princeton University Art Museum in New Jersey said that it has received a major, two-pronged donation from alumnus Preston H. Haskell III, the founder of a Florida engineering and construction concern. It includes a “leadership gift” of an undisclosed size toward the institution’s new home, which has been designed by David Adjaye and is now under construction. The building’s education center will be named the Haskell Education Center . The donation also includes “art that is one of the most significant gifts in the museum’s history,” per Princeton, including eight prized postwar abstractions, by Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and more. One highlight: A juicy 1986 Gerhard Richter measuring about 8½ feet by 6½ feet. Those eight works will be hanging for the reopening of the museum, which is slated to be finished by late 2024.
GROWING PAINS. When the Orange County Museum of Art reopened a couple months back in a new Morphosis-designed home in Costa Mesa, California, some said that the building looked a bit unfinished. On walkways inside, “the surface finishes are startlingly shabby, with foam core panels that ripple, don’t fit, are mismatched or are incorrectly cut,” art critic Christopher Knight wrote in the Los Angeles Times. Now architecture critic Oliver Wainwright has taken an axe to the design in the Guardian, terming it a “shop of horrors.” The OCMA is completing the remaining work, and its director, Heidi Zuckerman, proposed, “I believe in wabi-sabi—I think there’s a beauty in imperfection. Sometimes you can only appreciate a finished thing by experiencing it unfinished.”
While the American art world has been championing diversity in recent years, “statistics show that the perception of progress is largely a myth,” journalists Julia Halperin and Charlotte Burns write in a report that crunches auction results and acquisitions at major U.S. museums. [Artnet News]
An unrealized design for a boathouse that architect Frank Lloyd Wright drew up in 1893 for Madison, Wisconsin, may be finally be built. Efforts are underway to redevelop a stretch of waterfront in the city, and some proposals include Wright’s plan, which went unconstructed because of an economic downturn. [Architectural Digest]
The Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland, which has been closed since this past March for a ventilation renovation and other upgrades, said that it will reopen this coming April. [Helsinki Times]
Reporter Graham Bowley has an overview of the debate about repatriating objects from the collections of United States museums. Practices have been changing fast, legal authorities are sometimes getting involved, and some believe the restitutions go too far, while others say there is far more to be done. [The New York Times]
Speaking of Gerhard Richter, artist Gavin Turk’s latest show, at Ben Brown Fine Arts in London, pays a kind of tribute to the German master. The 11 paintings in the show suggest Richter’s coveted “Candle” paintings, except that Turk’s candles are extinguished. [Wallpaper]
Artist Casey Jenkins, who has been suing the Australia Council for withdrawing funding from a performance that involved Jenkins documenting their monthly self-insemination, scored a victory in the ongoing battle: The artist does not need to put forth payment for the council’s legal expenses, a court ruled. [The Guardian]
FINE DINING. The storied London restaurant Sketch is turning 20 this year, and Wallpaper has a look at how noted artists and designers—like Martin Creed, David Shrigley, India Mahdavi, and now, Yinka Shonibare—have taken turns transforming its interiors over the years . The design done by Mahdavi in 2014, in collaboration with Shrigley, is probably the most famous, with walls and banquettes in a pale pink—pure Instagram candy. Mourad Mazouz, who founded the boîte, told the magazine, “Our visitors still ask today about our pink chairs.” [Wallpaper]