AfriCOBRA Artist Nelson Stevens Dies at 84, Audubon Society Chapter Drops Name, and More: Morning Links for July 26, 2022

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The Headlines

UNDER SCRUTINY. On Monday, French officials detained for questioning two major archaeologists as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged antiquities trafficking, Artnet News and Libération report. That investigation has already led to charges against the Louvre ’s former president, Jean-Luc Martinez. The two archaeologists, who have not been charged, are Noëmi Daucé, a curator at the Louvre, and Jean-François Charnier, an adviser for Afalula, a French group focused on cultural projects in the Al-Ula area of Saudi Arabia. It is reported that they are being asked about allegedly ignoring warnings about the chain of custody of two ancient Egyptian objects while advising the Louvre Abu Dhabi on acquisitions. Neither has commented.

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BIG NUMBERS. Analysts at Deloitte LLP have determined that the “social asset value” of the Colosseum in Rome is about $79 billion (using a methodology too involved to get into here), Bloomberg reports. Good to know! A 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card may sell for north of $10 million in an online auction that ends August 27, the Associated Press reports. And art collectors Sherry and Joel Mallin have listed their art-filled, 14-acre estate in Pound Ridge, New York, for $8.5 millionBloomberg reports. That includes a house, a 9,200-square-foot exhibition space, and an Andy Goldsworthy sculpture on the grounds. The rest of their collection of well more than 1,000 pieces will be sold or donated in various ways, according to Sherry.

The Digest

Artist Nelson Stevens, an AfriCOBRA member known for creating inventively constructed, brilliantly hued portraits, died on July 22 at the age of 84. Stevens was a veteran activist and teacher, serving as a professor of art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for more than 30 years. [Diverse Issues in Higher Education via Culture Type]

The Seattle chapter of the bird-focused National Audubon Society is dropping Audubon from its name because it is a tribute to artist and ornithologist John James Audubon, who was a slave owner. It will select a new name by the end of the year. [Associated Press]

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is currently showing pieces from a car-themed series that Andy Warhol was at work on for Mercedes-Benz when he died unexpectedly at 58. The paintings have never before been shown together in the United States. [Los Angeles Times]

Artist Qualeasha Wood answered “21 Questions” from Curbed. What building would she like to redesign? The Guggenheim! Wood: “It’s always looked like a fever dream—this big, white swirling object that feels like it was thrown into the city with no consideration for what’s around it.” [Curbed]

French filmmaker Jean-Louis Remilleux restored an 18th-century Neoclassical palace with 105 rooms in Noto, Sicily. Graced with art and other delights, it is the subject of a sumptuous-looking new book. [Architectural Digest]

The Kicker

A PRETTY PICKLE. For a group exhibition at the Michael Lett gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, artist Matthew Griffin created a work that consists of a McDonald’s pickle stuck to the ceiling. As you can imagine, people on the internet have opinions about this readymade work, Newshub reports. “Waste of a good pickle,” one commenter said. (Griffin, who is based in Sydney, has a practice that involves more than pickles, for the record, and he sometimes shares satisfying video pieces on the Instagram account @contemporaryary.) The show’s curator, Ryan Mooretold the Daily Mail, “People don’t have to think it’s art if they don’t want to. Anything can be an artwork, but not everything is. That’s often the point.” [Newshub and Daily Mail]


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