Antiquities Seized from Met, Anti-‘Woke’ Commentator Joins V&A Board, and More: Morning Links from September 2, 2022

To receive Morning Links in your inbox every weekday, sign up for our Breakfast with ARTnews newsletter.

The Headlines

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY. A new report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reveals that New York officials acquired two warrants to seize antiquities from the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past July. The first warrant concerned $11 million worth of antiquities, including a marble head of the goddess Athena that was valued at $3 million alone. The second focused on a 6th-century sculpture of a Hindu deity from modern-day India. The Met, which has not been charged with wrongdoing, said it would support the investigation into these objects. The museum is currently facing calls to return artifacts that some say were brought there by illegal means. This past June, as ARTnews previously reported, the Met became ensnared in a sprawling inquiry into an artifact smuggling ring. And, as the New York Times reported last month, Cambodia claims the Met owns looted artifacts that passed through the hands of disgraced dealer Douglas Latchford. In other Met-related news, the museum is set to show more than 160 ancient artworks before they head back to Greece for good, the Associated Press reports.

ALL ABOARD. The Victoria & Albert Museum in London has named three new trustees, the Art Newspaper reports, and one of them is Zewditu Gebreyohanes, a young right-wing commentator who has ruffled feathers in the U.K. According to the Guardian, her activities have included working for Policy Exchange, a right-wing organization that has railed against the “wokeness” of cultural heritage organizations such as the National Trust. In a paper she co-wrote last year, she criticized Kew Gardens for “decolonising” its botanical collections. The V&A is a public museum, and a government spokesperson attempted to remain neutral, saying that all trustees are appointed via “a fair and open competition.” Art historian Rosalind Polly Blakesley and Credit Suisse managing director Rusty Elvidge also joined the V&A’s board this week.

The Digest

You can now buy a Banksy mural in Los Angeles that features a girl in a swing, but if you want to do so, you’ll have to buy the whole building. Its price tag: more than $16 million. [The New York Times]

The Canadian city of Alberta has yanked a Ken Lum sculpture of a bison because officials feared it could be misconstrued as colonialist, since it alluded to an old photograph of a trader. Lum said the work had never been intended that way. [The Guardian]

NPR took a deep dive into the case of the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, which reopened after a short closure last December. Once it began allowing visitors again, the Taliban served as its guards, raising alarm among some outside observers. [NPR]

Some scientists are using lithopanes, a kind of artwork in which plastic is backlit to expose an image, to help visualize data for visually impaired people. “Art is rescuing science from itself,” said the biochemist Bryan Shaw[Ars Technica]

Getty Museum show that draws out connections between antiquities and Cy Twombly’s abstractions got a favorable review from critic Christopher Knight, who called the exhibition “compact and well-considered.” [Los Angeles Times]

A clip from Laura Poitras’s new documentary about photographer Nan Goldin, which is set to have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival in October, has been released. In it, you can see a firsthand account of a 2019 anti-Sackler protest at the Guggenheim Museum that Goldin and her P.A.I.N. group led. [Neon/YouTube]

The Kicker

LIVING HISTORY. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a visit to the Venice Biennale, where she saw Simone Leigh’s critically acclaimed U.S. Pavilion. On Instagram, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, which commissioned the pavilion, posted a picture of a beaming Clinton standing beside two staffers. It’s not clear, based on the post, whether she saw curator Cecilia Alemani’s main exhibition, where Leigh is also showing work that won her the Biennale’s Golden Lion award. If you, like Clinton, are pondering a trip to Venice, there’s still a lot of time to see the U.S. Pavilion. The show runs through November 27.


No votes yet.
Please wait...