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SERENITY NOW. On Friday, Venice announced a plan that will require tourists intent on a day trip to the city to make a reservation and pay a fee between €3 and €10 (about $3.13 to $10.43), depending on the size of anticipated crowds, the New York Times reports. The new system will go into effect this coming January. Worry not, veteran Biennale fans: People sleeping overnight in the city will be exempt from the new fees, since a daily tax is already charged in such cases. Venice, the Most Serene Republic, is “an open-air museum and to preserve it, it’s necessary to limit the flow of people,” Dina Ravera, who runs a high-end tour company, told Bloomberg. “Otherwise, it would be like leaving the doors of the Louvre open.” However, some locals worry that the move could hurt the city’s economy.
IT’S DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN. Climate activists in the United Kingdom have once again staged a protest at a major art museum. On Monday, Just Stop Oil hit the National Gallery in London, the Guardian reports, gluing themselves to the frame of John Constable’s The Hay Wain (1821) and placing images atop the work that presents its verdant landscape as an environmental ruin. The action follows similar protests last week at institutions in London, Glasgow, and Manchester. “Ultimately, new fossil fuels are a death project by our government,” one activist told the paper. “So yes there is glue on the frame of this painting but there is blood on the hands of our government.”
On Friday, Germany and Nigeria inked a deal in Berlin that will see looted Benin Bronzes and other material returned to the African country. Two bronzes were handed over at the ceremony. “This is just the beginning of more than 1,000 pieces from the Kingdom of Benin that are still in German museums,” German’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said. [The Associated Press]
Kurt Markus, an Army Ranger-turned-photographer who took cowboys and supermodels as two of his key subjects, died last month at the age of 75. “A true artist,” Cindy Crawford wrote on Instagram. “Your work was both beautiful and beautifully honest.” [The New York Times]
Marcus Fairs, the founder and editor-in-chief of the architecture and design magazine Dezeen, has died at 54. Fairs was a “brilliant journalist, visionary entrepreneur, and much-loved father, husband, colleague, and friend,” the outlet said in a statement. [Dezeen]
A 17th-century gilded silver shield that was was missing from the Dresden City Museum in Germany at the end of World War II went back on view there on Saturday. Researchers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art identified the piece in its collections and recently repatriated it. [PhillyVoice]
Attention is growing for Africa’s NFT scene, Joseph Ndukwu reports. [ARTnews]
THE POP PAGES. For his first solo album, BTS member J-Hope said that he has tapped KAWS to create cover art (not yet unveiled). And singer Lykke Li told the Financial Times that she recently bought a bunch of books about Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas, and Cindy Sherman. “I love Cindy Sherman because she speaks to something I battle with a lot: how does one age as a woman without becoming insane?” Li said.
THROW THE BOOK AT THEM. The Financial Times took a deep dive into the wild topic of book thefts, which have some clear parallels with art thefts. For one thing, if you steal an ultra-famous book, it will be hard to fence it. “Unless you’ve got a James Bond villain stroking a white cat who just wants to hold these items, most rare notebooks are like the Mona Lisa—totally and utterly unsaleable,” Bernard Shapero, an antiquarian book dealer, told the paper. That said, such “klepto-connoisseurs” do exist, according to the story. [FT]