Angelina Jolie’s Winston Churchill Nets $11.6 M., Veteran Singapore Space Will Close, and More: Morning Links from March 2, 2021

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The Headlines

ANGELINA JOLIE HAD A VERY GOOD DAY YESTERDAY. A 1943 Winston Churchill painting she sent to Christie’s sold for a whopping £8.26 million (about $11.6 million) with fees, the Art Newspaper reports. That figure is a new auction record for the onetime British prime minister—though it is just short of the all-time high for KAWS. The Maleficent actress received the painting of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, Morocco, from her then-husband, actor Brad Pitt. It is the only painting that Churchill is believed to have painted during World War II. The Sunday painter gave the piece to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a present during the war. Amazingly, CNN reports, some time after the work was sold by one of FDR’s sons in the 1960s, it landed with a New Orleans family, and they kept it in a closet for decades.

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AN ABANDONED DEBENHAMS DEPARTMENT STORE in London could become an art space under a plan being floated by local politicians, Time Out London writes. In January, the company said it would not reopen after the pandemic, and there is reportedly little interest in the building, which has—wait for it—400,000 square feet of space. (By way of comparison, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has 166,000 square feet of gallery space.) The proposed Oxford Street Art House would feature five floors of galleries and a library, among other amenities. Transforming empty U.K. retail space into cultural venues is a hot topic right now. Last month, the groundwork was laid for an Ikea in Coventry, England, to be converted into an arts center.

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The Digest

The United States will repatriate a 12th-century stone statue to Nepal that was stolen in 1984. [Nepali Times]

The human-rights organization Freemuse said in a report that governments have been undertaking efforts to “weaponize the pandemic against freedom of expression.” [The Art Newspaper]

The Substation, Singapore’s first independent art center, said that it will close after being informed by the National Arts Council that it will have to share its current home with other arts groups. [The Strait Times]

Some artists and architects have called for the removal of Philip Johnson’s name from galleries at the Museum of Modern Art because of his Nazi sympathies early in his career. For an upcoming exhibition, Johnson’s name will be covered by a piece from the Black Reconstruction Collective. MoMA has said it is pursuing “a rigorous research initiative to explore in full the allegations against Johnson and gather all available information.” [Hyperallergic]

The Paris art world is roaring! “The rising profile of Parisian art fairs, complemented by a resuscitated auction market and an influx of international galleries, has brought renewed attention to the French capital,” Naomi Rea writes. [Artnet News]

The artist and musician Grimes sold about $6 million worth of limited-edition digital artworks via the NFT platform Nifty Gateway. An edition-of-one music video was the top lot, going for $389,000. [The Verge]

Has Banksy struck again? Some believe that the street-art maestro is behind a piece freshly placed on a wall of the defunct Reading Prison in England, which once held Oscar Wilde. It depicts an inmate escaping. [CNN]

Artist Emily Mason’s 4,700-square-foot studio in the Flatiron section of Manhattan has been preserved just as it was when she died in 2019 at the age of 87. Here are some gorgeous photographs of the space. (Fun fact: Mason’s mother was the great mid-century abstractionist Alice Trumbull Mason, and she was a descendent of the early American painter John Trumbull. [Curbed]

The Kicker

MORE AND MORE COLLECTORS ARE SHOWING ART ON THEIR SUPERYACHTSRobb Report reports. Among the art-stocked boats out there are the Royal Hakvoort yacht Revelry, which sports pieces by Frank StellaRobert Mangold, and Alex Katz, and the Jon Bannenberg–designed charter Libra Y, which has work by Nobuyoshi ArakiPiotr Uklanski, and Matthew Barney. “It is an interesting fact that superyachts are considered safe places to store art, more than in private properties,” an industry expert, Marcela de Kern Royer, said. “Many yacht owners keep onboard paintings and sculptures that are often worth more than the superyacht itself.” [Robb Report]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.


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