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THE WAR IN UKRAINE. Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, arts groups and art workers are responding. The organizers of Russia’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which starts in April, said they were canceling the project, Alex Greenberger reports. “There is no place for art when civilians are dying under the fire of missiles, when citizens of Ukraine are hiding in shelters, when Russian protesters are getting silenced,” artists Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov said. The Garage Museum in Moscow said it will “stop work on all exhibitions until the human and political tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine has ceased,” Sarah Douglas reports. New York’s Metropolitan Opera said it will not work with artists and groups allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin, NPR reports. And as cultural objects face threats in Ukraine, some say that the U.S. Army ’s plan to create a new team of World War II-style “Monuments Men” has been slow to come together, the New York Times reports.
THE BASQUIAT BOOM. Retail kingpin, space adventurer, and art collector Yusaku Maezawa will sell a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Untitled (Devil), at Phillips’s May contemporary art evening sale in New York with an estimate of $70 million, Angelica Villa reports in ARTnews. The piece dates to 1982, the year that has long been most coveted by the artist’s collectors. A veteran of the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors List, Maezawa paid $110.5 million for another 1982 Basquiat in 2017, setting the artist’s auction record. He snapped up Untitled (Devil) a year earlier, for $57.3 million, at Christie’s in New York, where it was offered by collector Adam Lindemann. Last week, Christie’s said it will offer a major Basquiat triptych, also from 1982, at its own May contemporary art sale with an estimate around $30 million, ARTnews reported
INSTITUTIONAL CRITIQUES. Three artists have called on the National Gallery of Ireland to take their work off view because it awarded a catering contract to a firm that services the nation’s controversial direct provision centers, which house asylum seekers, the Irish Times reports. The direct provision system has been accused of violating people’s rights . Meanwhile, in London, recent revelations about Credit Suisse allegedly doing business with reputed drug traffickers and money launderers may bring scrutiny to its ongoing sponsorship of the National Gallery, the Guardian writes. The bank has denied the claims.
THE INVESTIGATION CONTINUES. Law enforcement officials are exploring a theory that the 1991 murder of a man named James Marks at his home in Lynn, Massachusetts, may be connected to the notorious 1990 heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Marks was an associate of another man officials have suspected of having knowledge of the crime, and a tipster has claimed that Marks had bragged about hiding some of the works. However, his niece doesn’t buy it. [Boston 25, Boston.com , and The Boston Globe]
Leo Bersani, the deeply influential and sometimes controversial literary critic and queer theorist, died on February 20, at the age of 90. Jacqueline Rose, a professor at the University of London, told reporter Clay Risen, “He thought that the whole point of being a homosexual man is that you disrupted the experience of possession, ownership, fidelity, consistency, safety, and you allowed sexuality to be what it really is, which is disruptive, disorienting, shattering, limit-violating and boundary-breaking.” [The New York Times]
Writer, producer, and director Ryan Murphy—who has executive produced a new Andy Warhol documentary for Netflix that features an AI recreation of the artist’s voice—has guest curated an upcoming auction for Sotheby’s that features work by Cecily Brown, Stanley Whitney, and, yes, Warhol. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Speaking of Warhol: Joel Wachs, the president of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, discussed having his early life as a closeted gay politician in Los Angeles fictionalized in Paul Thomas Anderson’s acclaimed new film, Licorice Pizza. Also, Wachs said that he has used a quarter of his paycheck to buy art since the mid-1970s. [Los Angeles Times]
Youn Bum-mo, the director of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, received a second three-year term from the nation’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Youn is now slated to hold the job, overseeing the MMCA’s four branches, until 2025. [The Korea Herald]