Artist Alekos Fassianos Dies at 86, Louvre Lambastes Le Pen Video, and More: Morning Links for January 18, 2022

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The Headlines

GREEK PAINTER ALEKOS FASSIANOS died on Sunday at the age of 86, the Associated Press reported. The iconography of ancient Greece courses through Fassianos’s playful and charismatic art, which was widely celebrated in his homeland and graced shows like the 1971 São Paulo and 1972 Venice biennials. Greece’s culture minister, Lina Mendoni, said in a statement quoted by DW that “all the work of Fassianos, the colors that filled his canvases, the multidimensional forms that dominated his paintings, exude Greece.” In 2004, he was feted with his final retrospective, at the Athens National Art Gallery, in the city where he had been born in 1935.

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OPEN-DOOR POLICY. For years, the treasure-filled Solow Art & Architecture Gallery has been visible in the lobby of 9 West in Midtown Manhattan. However, the public has long been forbidden to enter and view its collection, which was created by the late developer Sheldon Solow (9 West’s owner), and which includes KlineCalder, and more. Since the gallery (which unloaded a $92 million Botticelli last year) is a nonprofit, that generated some criticism. Now the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo has the scoop that it will open to the masses. Following Solow’s 2020 death, his real-estate holdings passed to his son, Stefan Soloviev; one of Stefan’s sons, Hayden Solovievs, said that the space is being remodeled. The plan is to have an expanded space ready by 2023.

The Digest

Some Smithsonian security guards are arguing that a personnel shortage caused by the coronavirus spike is making the museums they protect unsafe. The Smithsonian, which has reduced hours at many outposts, disagrees with those claims. [The Washington Post]

The Louvre slammed a campaign video that right-wing French presidential Marine Le Pen shot outside the museum, saying it was done without authorization. A Le Pen flack said that no such permission was required since it was not a commercial production. [Bloomberg]

Photojournalist Steve Schapiro, whose work ranged from documentation of the Civil Rights Movement to publicity materials for iconic films like The Godfather (1972) and Taxi Driver (1976), died on Sunday at 87. [Variety]

The Save the Children charity said that it will stop using a font in its branding that was designed by artist Eric Gill, whose sexual abuse of his daughters came to light decades after his 1940 death. Last week, a man attacked a Gill sculpture on the facade of the BBC’s London headquarters. [Daily Mail]

The Kansong Art Museum in Seoul, which has faced financial difficulties, will auction two Buddhist artifacts from its collection that are designated as national treasures in South Korea. It is the first time material with that designation has hit the block. Each carries a low estimate north of $20 million. [The Korea Herald]

The second edition of the Desert X AlUla exhibition in Saudi Arabia, which opens next next month, has released its artist list, and it includes 15 names, including Alicja KwadeSerge Attukwei ClotteyAyman Zedani, and Zeinab AlHashemi[ARTnews]

The Kicker

BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. CBS Sunday Morning recently stopped by the Washington, D.C., home of Aaron and Barbara Levine in order to take a look at their deep art holdings, which lean toward the conceptual. “They’re not beautiful,” Aaron told the TV crew. “It’s not pretty. Nothing here is pretty!” The couple has bequeathed their Marcel Duchamp collection to the local Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture , where it is now on view, but they reject being called collectors. “I hate the word collector,” Barbara said. “I buy what I love, okay? I buy what talks to me. I buy what makes me feel emotional and loving. I don’t buy it because it fits into my collection.” [CBS Sunday Morning]


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