Bob Dylan Love Letters Sell for $670,000, Buffalo AKG Art Museum to Reopen in May, and More: Morning Links for November 22, 2022

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The Headlines

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LOTS OF LOVE. More than 40 love letters by a young Bob Dylan sold for nearly $670,000 at RR Auction. Those letters, penned while Dylan was still going by his birth name, Robert Zimmerman, “provide an insight into a period of his life of which not much is known,” according to the Associated Press. Written between 1957 and 1959, they are addressed to Barbara Ann Hewitt, whom he invites to a Buddy Holly show in one letter. The letters will be kept at the Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal, which plans to keep them available for future study for Dylan enthusiasts and scholars.

MUSEUM UPDATES. The Buffalo AKG Art Museum—formerly the Albright-Knox Art Gallery—is officially set to reopen in May 2023, Hilarie M. Sheets reports in the New York Times. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has provided the remaining $20 million in the museum’s $230 million capital campaign, which is thought to be the biggest one ever undertaken by a museum in the western part of the state. BBC News previewed the International African American Museum, which will open in January in Charleston, South Carolina. Michael Boulware Moore, the museum’s founding CEO, said the institution will “create a more truthful and honest articulation of American history.” Artnet News reported that activists protested in support of Mahsa Amini by unfurling red banners at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. And, also in the TimesRobin Pogrebin sat down with Ann Temkin and Naomi Beckwith, chief curator of painting at the Museum of Modern Art and deputy and chief curator at the Guggenheim Museum, respectively, to talk about the future of New York art institutions.

The Digest

Mexico called on the Parisian auction house Giquello & Associés to reconsider a sale of pre-Columbian artifacts that the country has labeled unethical. The house plans to move forward with the sale anyway. [The Art Newspaper]

Antwaun Sargent got the profile treatment courtesy of Nate Freeman, who describes the Gagosian director as “an art world micro-celebrity.” [Vanity Fair]

The owners of the Parisian gallery Belle et Belle, which offered dozens of Picasso works that were pilfered from the artist’s descendants, were found guilty of having sold stolen art. They were given suspended jail sentences of up to two years and a €400,000 fine, and were forbidden from selling art for the next five years. [The Art Newspaper]

Among the Brooklyn Museum’s acquisitions in the past year was Liza Lou’s Trailer (2000), a full-size trailer whose interior she lined with beads. Also acquired were pieces by Bumpei UsuiBaseera KhanMiles Greenberg, and more. [Artnet News]

Artist Sasha Huber has been leading a fight to retitle a Swiss mountain named after Louis Agassiz, a 19th-century scientist who vocally claimed that Black people were an inferior species. [The Guardian]

The Kicker

FOOD FOR THOUGHT. In the newest issue of ArtforumEd Ruscha eulogizes the artist Billy Al Bengston, who died in October. Bengston, Ruscha writes, “dared to piddle with symmetrical picture-making using hearts and flowers smack in the middle of a canvas when that was practically illegal in the contemporary art world.” Bengston also happens to have been something of a beloved chef, a maker of dishes such as “Cordone Blue,” whose ingredients were mainly cans of chili and beans. Ruscha describes one party in which the singer Nico came by, and told Bengston, “Oh Billee, I love your chili parties but all I want is an ohhn-chelada.” [Artforum]


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