A Madonna-Frida Kahlo Controversy, Hirst Backdating Scrutiny Grows, Critics Pan New Royal Portrait, and More: Morning Links for May 22, 2024

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MADONNA-KAHLO MISUNDERSTANDING. Madonna sparked outrage among Frida Kahlo devotees after she posted online about an experience trying on Kahlo’s clothing and jewelry in the artist’s former home in Mexico, reports Le Figaro. Many believed Madonna was referring to the Frida Kahlo Museum, or the Casa Azul, and berated the institution for allowing her to risk damaging precious Mexican artifacts. In an Instagram post captioned, “A Beautiful Souvenir – visiting the family home of my Eternal Muse,” Madonna had said it was “magical to try on [Kahlo’s] clothes and jewelry.” But not all were charmed. “That is a Mexican national treasure, I wonder how much she paid to those running the [museum] to get that special treatment … it is a travesty [sic],” wrote Pilly Alvarado on the pop star’s post. The Museo Frida Kahlo has since issued a statement clarifying that Madonna never even visited the museum, and that Kahlo’s clothing and jewelry “is subject to strict conservation measures and is exhibited in the museum, not loaned for personal use.” According to local media Reforma, Madonna had visited Kahlo’s family in another home in the Pedregal district and was referring to the artist’s clothing and possessions in their private collection.

BACKDATED HIRSTS. The Damien Hirst artwork-dating controversy continues, with a new report by The Guardian. The media revealed Wednesday that over 1,000 paintings in The Currency series — A4 pieces of paper covered in colorful dots — were not made in 2016 as described and dated by Hirst, but were mass produced by assistants from 2018 to 2019. Those who came forward with the scoop believe other artworks out of 10,000 made for The Currency series that sold for a total of $18 million, were also likely made later than claimed. As Alex Greenberger reports for ARTnews, the revelation comes following two March reports alleging that three of Hirst’s high-priced formaldehyde tanks containing animals and dated to the 1990’s were made years later.


The knives are out once more over another British royal portrait. This time, the intense public criticism is aimed at the cover of the magazine Tatler, revealed on Wednesday, which is graced by a painted portrait of Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, by artist Hannah Uzor. [ARTnews]

Investor and collector Ron Perelman sold nearly $1 billion worth of art, after Revlon Inc. shares dropped, and he was forced to pay creditors who demanded repayment. 71 artworks were listed among those sold between 2020 to 2022, by artists ranging from Alberto Giacometti, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, to Damien Hirst. [Bloomberg]

A new online index by the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) maps incidents of cultural and artistic censorship in the US since October 7. Called the Art Censorship Index, it is intended “to inspire greater accountability and dialogue within the artistic community and beyond,” said Elizabeth Larison, director of NCAC’s Arts and Culture Advocacy Program. [ARTnews]

The MacArthur Foundation has modified requirements for a $100 million grant in its global 100&Change competition, to include proposals that can specifically incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into projects that address any major global challenge. The call for applications is the third installation in its competition. [The Associated Press]

A two-story, 1920-built New York building once belonged to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, which became a hang-out for artists and musicians, is going on sale for $5.5 million. The couple bought the loft-style building with an Art Deco façade, on Soho’s Broome Street, in 1971, and moved in when Lennon released the album Imagine. [Artnet News]

A stolen 1910 copper weathervane in the form of a steam locomotive and coal tender, has been recovered, and returned to the Vermont Agency of Transportation, thanks to the Arts Loss Register, which spotted it at Sotheby’s. [Vermont Public]

People in Florida have filed a lawsuit against The Hershey Company for “deceptive advertising” leading them to buy the products, “because of the cool and beautiful carved out designs on the products’ packaging,” states the suit. However, the actual chocolate products have no such “explicit carved out artistic designs,” and are “blank,” claim plaintiffs. [NPR]


BARNEY PARADOX. Art superstar Matthew Barney sat down in his Long Island City studio with The Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi to discuss his new video installation about a notorious professional football tackle that paralyzed a player. Yet the 57-year-old American artist remained elusive, according to Mahdawi, who writes “my rapport with Barney gradually develops its own stress fractures,” when she senses the artist is “uncomfortable” discussing the broader cultural themes in his work, along with being in the spotlight. Still, as the story ultimately reveals, the reader is far from left empty handed. Barney discusses violence, aging, the decline of the US empire, experimentation with ceramics, and “embracing a material that has a tendency to fail,” among other probing themes in his new work, Secondary. The project includes terracotta sculptures of Olympic weights and other sports items, or “symbols of strength” notes Mahdawi, made of paradoxically fragile material.

Source: artnews.com

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