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THE KEY TO THE CITY. If the lawyer Frank Gilbert had picked a different line of work, New York City might look very different today. Many other parts of the United States might, too. Gilbert, who campaigned to prevent Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal from being demolished in the 1960s, and who was involved in crafting many preservation laws, including the one that created the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the city, died on May 14 at the age of 91, Sam Roberts reports in the New York Times. Paul Edmondson, who heads the National Trust for Historic Preservation, told the Times that Gilbert “was responsible for the protection of thousands of historic properties and neighborhoods across the country through his work in helping communities develop historic districts.” In New York, those include areas of SoHo and Chelsea.
REPATRIATION DEVELOPMENTS. A gold coin from ancient Greece that was stolen from a museum in Rhodes during World War II, has been repatriated to the country from a museum in Stockholm, Sweden, the Associated Press reports. Dating back three millennia, it was at one point owned by the art-collecting biophysicist Georg von Békésy . Greek’s culture minister said that the return of the artifact shows the Swedish officials’ “respect for modern Greece.” Meanwhile, at a UNESCO meeting on Friday, a Greek official rejected a British claim that many of the Parthenon marbles removed by Lord Elgin were found amid rubble, the Guardian reports. Last week, the two countries said that they would hold talks on the disputed marbles. A date has not been set.
The World Economic Forum is running in Davos, Switzerland, and Ukrainian artists have transformed a building that Russia usually uses during the event with signage and images that declare it the “Russian War Crimes House.” Russia has denied claims that it has committed war crimes in the war in Ukraine. [Reuters]
Miss.Tic, a prominent street artist who became active in the Montmartre section of Paris in the 1980s, died on Sunday of an unspecified illness at the age of 66. France’s culture minister, Rima Abdul Malak, paid tribute to her “iconic, resolutely feminist” art in a statement. [AFP/France 24]
Amanda Claridge, a revered archaeologist with a passion for Rome, died at the age of 72 of cancer earlier this month. “Three thousand years of continuous occupation have produced one of the most deeply stratified and complex urban sites in existence,” she once wrote of the Eternal City. [The New York Times]
One of Shepard Fairey’s famed portraits of former President Barack Obama accompanied by the word “HOPE” sold for $735,000 at Heritage Auctions. A mixed-media collage, it is one of three large-scale pieces that Fairey made of the subject. [Chicago Tribune]
ARTIST UPDATES. Speaking of museums devoted to a single artist, a new museum dedicated to German artist George Grosz has just opened in his native Berlin, the New York Times reports. Australian painter Ken Done is in the Guardian, declaring, “I’ll never be as good as a five-year-old.” And Irish artist Eva Rothschild is also in the Guardian, sharing some of her favorite cultural offerings of late, like the TV show The Young Offenders.
IDENTIFYING INSPIRATION. In the Wall Street Journal, architect Francis Kéré, who garnered the Pritzker Prize earlier this year, discussed the important role that traditional African masks have in his practice , and highlighted as one off his favorites an early 20th-century hawk mask made by a Bwa sculptor that is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (He’s also a fan of the contemporary artist Romuald Hazoumè, of Benin, who makes unforgettable mask sculptures from plastic jugs and other materials.) For the Burkina Faso–born and Berlin-based Kéré, a traditional African mask is “a piece of wood that pushes you to think.” [WSJ]