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THE TRAILBLAZING CHICANA ARTIST Yolanda López, who was perhaps best known for her radical use of the Virgin of Guadalupe as a template for self-portraits and depictions of her family, has died at 79. “López stripped her docile demeanor and transformed herself and her family members into living, breathing, everyday yet holy brown women,” Priscella Vega writes in the Los Angeles Times. López was a committed feminist and activist against police brutality, a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and a creator of searing political posters. A piquant piece she made in 1978 features a man in Aztec garb asking, “Who’s the illegal alien, PILGRIM?” In an extensive profile in Mission Local, a friend, Donna Amador, is quoted describing López as “hella feisty.” The artist’s first solo museum show opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego next month.
TWO ZESTY OP-EDS TO START YOUR DAY: In a wide-ranging broadside in Artnet News, artist Ai Weiwei lambastes some Western art museums for moving “to cozy up to China, bowing and scraping before the great rising authoritarian power, bubbling with flattery at every turn.” He also criticizes the forthcoming M+ museum in Hong Kong for not including in its inaugural display one of his photographic series, which includes him giving the finger to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Meanwhile, a former British Museum director, Neil MacGregor, argues in the Art Newspaper that, when it comes to dealing with statues that embody horrible histories, Germany can provide useful models for action. He writes, “A key way to encourage remembering is to keep the mistake visible—radically relabelling or repurposing monuments rather than destroying them.”
Archaeologists working near Jelling, Denmark, have unearthed nearly a kilo of gold jewelry (about 2.2 pounds, for those on the imperial system) that is believed to date back some 1,500 years. The Vejle Museums, which will display the horde in a Viking show in February, has described it as one of the five most significant finds of gold artifacts in the nation’s history. [CPH Post]
Art Basel, which opens in Switzerland in about two weeks, has created a $1.6 million “solidarity fund” that exhibitors will be able to opt into to defray losses. The fair also said it will cover expenses that dealers face if they test positive for Covid and have to quarantine and reschedule travel. [Artnet News]
Artist Pipilotti Rist is about to open a survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and sat with Carolina A. Miranda for an interview. Asked about Beyoncé’s “Hold Up” video, in which the singer smashes car windows, echoing the main character in Rist’s Ever Is Over All (1997) work, the artist said, “I only did the side windows because I couldn’t afford to replace the front windows. She could have done it!” [Los Angeles Times]
The latest exhibition at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York aims to show “how fashion reflects evolving notions of identity in America,” director Max Hollein said. The FT has compiled a primer for U.S. designers like Vaquera, Andre Walker, and Miguel Adrover. [The Financial Times]
Designer Marc Newson has created a new line of modular shelves that is inspired by the production of Paris’s enameled street signs. “It’s easier to assemble than IKEA,” he claims. It will soon be on view at Galerie Kreo in Paris and London. [Financial Review]
NICK CAVE IS GOING UNDERGROUND. The creator of effervescent costumes he calls Soundsuits has completed work on an installation of sprawling glass mosaics and videos in the subway station below Times Square, the New York Times reports. Judging from photographs, it is pretty wild, with super-sized depictions of people wearing Soundsuits on the walls. The generations-old firm Franz Mayer of Munich , in Germany, fabricated the mosaic from Cave’s designs. Describing how his team works, the company’s managing director, Michael Mayer, said that they ask, “What is the stone that goes to the next, and creates a certain symphony?” [The New York Times]