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THE DISASTERS OF WAR. As fighting rages in Ukraine, museums across the country are working to safeguard their collections, the New York Times reports. Aleksandra Kovalchuk, the director of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum, told the paper via WhatsApp that staffers were “hiding” art in “the basement. Trying to arrange security. Barbed wire.” The organizers of the nation’s Venice Biennale pavilion, which is scheduled to open in April, said that they are not currently working on the project “due to the danger to our lives,” Artnet News reports. The star of that planned show, artist Pavlo Makov, told Artnet in another story that that he is currently sheltering with family in the city of Kharkiv. “I am not running from my home,” he said.
INTERNATIONAL LAW. The Manhattan district attorney’s office returned 55 antiquities to Greece that are believed to have been stolen, including a 6th-century B.C.E. kouros, the New York Times reports. The works are valued at more than $20 million, and 47 came from the Greco-Roman collection amassed by billionaire Michael H. Steinhardt, who surrendered 180 likely stolen artifacts in a deal last year. Meanwhile, a court in Naples, Italy, is calling on the Minneapolis Institute of Art to restitute a prized Roman copy of a Greek statue that it says was illegally dug up in the 1970s. The MIA, which has owned the piece since 1986, said that it has not been contacted by Italian officials but will conduct a review if that changes.
Egyptian and Czech Egyptologists working near Cairo said they have made the largest-ever discovery of equipment used for embalming mummies. The materials are believed to date back more than 2,500 years. [CNN]
Mexican activists hacked the audio guides at Vienna’s Weltmuseum last week so they featured a recording that draws attention to calls for the return of the headdress of Aztec emperor Moctezuma from the museum to Mexico. The museum maintains that the piece is so fragile that it would be damaged in transport. [The Art Newspaper]
Bank of America will begin presenting work by artists with disabilities or experiencing homelessness at almost 100 of its branches. Prints of the work will be for sale. A collaboration with ArtLifting, the project is slated to eventually encompass 900 locations. [Bloomberg]
The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens received $4.7 million from the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation. An anecdote related to key lime pie and a lucky penny (that is a bit too involved to summarize here) helps explain why the late Willis Newton Morris chose to support the museum. [Press Release/Georgia Museum of Art]
Scholar and curator Diana Widmaier Picasso, granddaughter of Pablo Picasso, has co-curated a show about her mother, Maya Ruiz-Picasso, at the Musée Picasso-Paris, and is working to publish a four-volume catalogue raisonné of the artist’s sculptures. She got the profile treatment from Victoria Woodcock. [Financial Times]
THE DINING SECTION. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is offering two-for-one cocktails on Friday and Saturday evenings as part of its “Date Night” initiative, the New York Times reports. And the hottest art-world boîte in Los Angeles right now is Horses, Nate Freeman declares in Vanity Fair.
Should you date a curator? Columnists Chen & Lambert weigh in. [Art in America]
COLOR KINGS. Artist James Turrell is having a moment. No, his Roden Crater is still not done, but he does have two new shows at Pace in New York—one of his work, the other of paintings by Ad Reinhardt that he has curated. In a lively interview with Deborah Solomon in the New York Times, Turrell recalled seeing a show of Reinhardt’s renowned “Black Paintings” 60 years ago at the Virginia Dwan Gallery in Los Angeles. “They’re not really black,” he told Solomon. “They have a brownish cast. There are other colors in them. Blues, reds and brown. No greens or yellows. I like the kind of art where you are looking for what lies beneath.” [The New York Times]