Architect and Designer Thierry Despont Dies at 75, Debate Over Loan of Ancient Mosaic, and More: Morning Links for August 17, 2023

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.

ARCHITECT, DESIGNER, AND ARTIST THIERRY DESPONT, who refurbished the Statue of Liberty and designed the galleries of Richard Meier’s Getty Center in Los Angeles, died on Sunday at 75, Architectural Record reports. Born in France, Despont worked for the Lewellyn-Davies firm in New York before hanging up his own shingle in the city in 1980. His clients included designer Calvin KleinMicrosoft cofounder Bill Gates, and the art-collecting Niarchos family. He also exhibited paintings and sculptures at Marlborough Gallery. “The interiors he concocts for his immensely wealthy clients are a swirl of highly focused, carefully edited clutter,” Karrie Jacobs wrote in a 1996 Los Angeles Times article. In it, Despont spoke of the architect as “the guardian of memories,” and of his aim to capture “the elements of the perfect house, the dream house one is always after like a writer is always after the great American novel.”

TAKING THE FLOOR. A possible loan of a third-century floor mosaic from Israel to the controversial Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is igniting debate, the Associated Press reports. The piece in question is the Megiddo Mosaic, which was found in 2005, and it sits inside what may be the oldest Christian prayer hall in the world. Some are objecting to the proposal loan on various grounds: Research is not complete on the work, it should be kept within its original context, and the Washington museum and its founder collected (and returned) thousands of smuggled objects. One religion professor in the article also termed the institution a “right-wing Christian nationalist Bible machine.” A spox for the museum defended its practices and said it “would welcome the opportunity to educate our thousands of visitors on important pieces of history such as this mosaic.” The Israel Antiquities Authority is expected to make a decision soon.

The Digest

After 14 years as co-director of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Madison, Maine, Sarah Workneh is stepping down in December. Katie Sonnenborn will continue on as co-director, and a hunt is on for someone to succeed Workneh. [@skowheganart/Press Release]

Readying a survey of the 20th-century painter Chang Uc-chin for September, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in South Korea found a painting—the first Chang ever sold—whose whereabouts were long unknown. It was sitting in a closet of the initial buyer’s son in Osaka, caked in dust. [The Korea Times]

Artist and writer Coco Fusco will open a retrospective at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin next month that covers “themes of racial representation, feminism, postcolonial theory, institutional critique, military interrogation, and post-revolutionary Cuba,” she said in an interview. [Contemporary &]

A former “nightlight concierge” in the club paradise of Ibiza wrote about his work, with tales of a €69,000 (about $75,000) bottle of Champagne (with 16 gallons), hangover-curing IV infusions, and all sorts of bad behavior. Some art-world courtiers may notice parallels. “It’s not a circuit, it’s a circus,” one restaurateur said of the jetset scene. [Bloomberg]

Far-right Argentinian presidential candidate Javier Milei’s unusual hair “seems to move in all directions at once, culminating in a swoop that resembles a treacherous alpine slope or a scrap-metal John Chamberlain sculpture,” columnist Jacob Gallagher writes. [WSJ]

The Kicker

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. For the Guardian’s “My Best Shot” column, Marilyn Minter talked about the photographs she shot for her new book, Elder Sex, which addresses that topic in her typically luminous, engaging style. “They’re not perfect bodies, but this is everybody’s future,” Minter said, “and I wanted to show it is not this dismal, barren place. Sex is a natural human instinct that doesn’t go away.” [The Guardian]


No votes yet.
Please wait...