Biden Reverses Trump-Era Public Art Rule, Controversy Boosts Spiegelman’s ‘Maus’ Sales, and More: Morning Links for February 1, 2022

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The Headlines

OTHER CRITERIA. A rule established by President Trump guiding the look of public art commissioned through the U.S. federal government’s Art in Architecture program is no moreCNN reports. The Biden administration reversed the executive order, which had said that projects should focus on “historically significant Americans or events of American historical significance or illustrate the ideals upon which our Nation was founded.” It also stated that, when it comes to depictions of historical figures, “a lifelike or realistic representation of that person, not an abstract or modernist representation” was required. The decision follows Biden’s moves last year to replace four members of the Commission of Fine Arts , which weighs in on the design of federal buildings. The ousted Trump-era chair called that action “an attack on classical architecture.”

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CHECKING IN. A couple updates on recent stories: It seems that the publicity around a Tennessee school board’s decision to ban Art Spiegelman’s classic graphic novel about the Holocaust, Maus (1980–91), has led to a spike in salesBBC News reports. The school officials had objected to language and nudity in the comic. Meanwhile, the plan by two Picasso heirs to mint an NFT tied to a ceramic by the artist—which had been criticized by the Picasso Administration (the manager of his estate)—may not be entirely dead. A manager for Picasso’s DJ grandson, Florian Picasso, who is part of the token effort, told the Art Newspaper that “the NFT sale hasn’t been cancelled but postponed,” and that more details are forthcoming. Never a dull moment on the NFT beat.

The Digest

Businessman William “Bill” Lamont Jr., the chairman of the Dallas Museum of Art since 2018, has died at the age of 73. Lamont first joined the DMA as a member with his wife, Mary Noël Lamont, in 1988. [The Dallas Morning News]

Three arts groups in the St. Louis, Missouri, area, including the Laumeier Sculpture Park, will share a gift of nearly $3 million from the estate of the late art patron Louetta Buechler. The donations are said to have been unexpected. [KSDK]

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation is embarking on the publication of an online catalogue raisonné of the artist’s paintings that will be free to peruse. The first two volumes are slated to drop in 2025. [ARTnews]

Polish painter Paulina Olowska, who had been repped by the now-closed Metro Pictures gallery in New York, has joined Pace. She will continue to work with Simon Lee Gallery and the Foksal Gallery Foundation[ARTnews]

Speaking of Pace, TRLab, a startup platform for NFT art, completed a $4.2 million round of funding that included the gallery, dealer and collector Adam Lindemann, and auction maestro Loïc Gouzer[]

For a New York magazine package about the first 10 years of the Black Lives Matter movement, writer Kimberly Drew revisited Dana Schutz’s controversial painting Open Casket (2016). [Vulture]

Pop king Justin Bieber reportedly shelled out 500 in Ethereum cryptocurrency (the equivalent of about $1.29 million) for a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, joining a club of collectors that includes Paris Hilton and Stephen Curry[PageSix]

The Kicker

ONE PERSON NOT GETTING INTO THE NFT CRAZE, at least for now, is the multi-hyphenate artist Kanye Westnow known as Ye. On Monday, the “Bound 2” rapper posted a handwritten note to his reliably entertaining Instagram account that begins, “My focus is on building real products in the real world,” and says later, “Do not ask me to do a fucking NFT.” Do not count the Donda creator out forever, though. West’s message concludes, “Ask me later.” [@KanyeWest/Instagram]


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