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AS THE WAR IN UKRAINE ENTERS ITS SECOND MONTH, more than 20 French museums sent material—like crates and fire extinguishers—to institutions in the country to aid them in protecting their collections, the Art Newspaper reports. Bloomberg took a look at those extensive efforts to save culture from destruction. In Poland, Bloomberg also reports, volunteers are using a paper partition system developed by Shigeru Ban to create shelters for arriving refugees. Ukrainian artists are making art in response to the conflict, the Financial Times reports. And in Tomsk, Russia, the Washington Post reports, a man named Stanislav Karmakskikh was arrested for holding a poster showing Vasily Vereshchagin’s 1871 painting The Apotheosis of War. It presents a pile of skulls on a barren plain.
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AUCTION ACTION. Christie’s is offering up just the thing for that special someone in your life: a 228-carat white diamond the size of an egg, with a high-estimate of $30 million, Robb Report reports. The largest-ever white diamond to go to auction, it will hit the block in Geneva on May 11. Meanwhile, a trio of NFTs for a classic abstraction by the legendary Korean artist Kim Whanki netted the equivalent of about $598,000, the Yonhap News Agency reports. The editions were sold through XXBLUE by the artist’s foundation. Meanwhile, reporter Scott Rayburn took a look at how museums are using NFTs to bring in revenue. The Belvedere in Vienna, for one, rang up some €4.3 million (about $4.71 million) by selling around 2,400 tokens of Gustav Klimt’s famed The Kiss (1907–08). One last item about NFTs: Takashi Murakami is launching a project with them. “NFT art inherently expands the cognitive field,” Murakami told Architectural Digest.
PROVENANCE RESEARCH. Dealer Roben Dib was arrested in Hamburg, Germany, and sent to France to face charges of gang fraud and money laundering, the Art Newspaper reports. Dib has been accused of playing a role in the sale of looted antiquities that have entered the collections of leading museums. He has denied those allegations. Meanwhile, TAN also reports that Christie’s pulled two antiquities—one Greek, one Roman—from an April sale after a researcher said that they may have passed through the hands of dealers who have handled illicit artifacts.
Bernard Chan, the convenor of the Executive Council in Hong Kong, has reportedly been appointed chairman of the M+ museum. Chan also serves as chairman of the Palace Museum in the city, a position he will leave by year’s end. M+’s current chair, Victor Lo Chung-wing, will be departing after six years. [South China Morning Post]
The next president of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris has been selected: It is Elsa Janssen, who has directed the Approche photography fair in the city. Prior to that, she was director of Galeries Lafayette’s Galerie des Galeries. [WWD]
Photojournalist Dirck Halstead, who captured the first American combat troops entering Vietnam in 1965, President Nixon’s landmark visit to China in 1972, and the attempt that was made on President Reagan’s life in 1981, has died at the age of 85. [The New York Times]
Collector and dealer Adam Lindemann’s decade-old Upper East Side gallery, Venus Over Manhattan, is opening a branch in that New York borough’s Nolita neighborhood. First up, in April, is a show by Ana Benaroya. “We’re expanding our program to give more attention to younger artists,” Lindemann said. [Artnet News]
The storied Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, will reopen in May after being closed for two years because of the pandemic and a $13.7 million renovation that was undertaken after rainstorms caused extensive damage. [Associated Press]
‘A PROTEST AGAINST THE PASSAGE OF TIME.’ Filmmaker, musician, and D.J. Ahmir Questlove Thompson—who won an Oscar last night for his documentary Summer of Soul—penned an essay for the New York Times about collecting. He knows something about the subject, having amassed north of—wait for it—200,000 records and numerous other materials. “A collection starts as a protest against the passage of time and ends as a celebration of it,” he writes, explaining that “when there are enough things, organized with some sense of chronology, they tell a story about the past. They tell us why the past matters.” No doubt countless art collectors, curators, and museum visitors would raise a glass to that. [The New York Times]