Commission Says Defaced Colston Statue Should Go to Museum, Baltimore Curator Brenda L. Richardson Dies, and More: Morning Links for February 4, 2022

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The Headlines

HISTORY LESSONS. A commission in Bristol, England, has recommended that the statue of slave trader Edward Colston that protestors defaced with paint and deposited in the city’s harbor in 2020 be placed on display at a city museum in its present state, the Guardian reports. The panel also said that the plinth that once held it should display art commissions and sometimes be left empty. Last month, ARTnews reported, a court found four protesters involved in the action not guilty of criminal wrongdoing. In a survey, some Bristol residents offered a wide range ideas for how to deal with the contested piece, with one person proposing that it should be reinstalled, with a new ritual of “hauling it down and throwing it in the harbor once a year,” Steven Morris writes.

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A CHARM CITY LEGEND PASSES. Brenda L. Richardson, a curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art for nearly 25 years, has died at 79, the Baltimore Sun reports. “Brenda was a most brilliant woman who taught me about modern art,” the artist, director, and BMA trustee John Waters told the Sun. After working at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in California, Richardson joined the BMA in 1975 as a curator and later took on the titles deputy director and chief curator. “I had to persuade her to become deputy director because she was so devoted to her curatorial work,” Arnold L. Lehman, who worked alongside her as director for 18 years, told the Sun. Her program included major shows of work by Barnett NewmanAndy Warhol, and Frank Stella.

The Digest

Painter Angel Otero has come aboard the Hauser & Wirth gallery train, departing from his dealers Lehmann Maupin and Vielmetter. The move makes him one of the few Puerto Rico–based artists on the roster of a mega-gallery, Alex Greenberger reports. [ARTnews]

A big week for catalogues raisonnés! The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation said it will publish a free, online one for the artist’s paintings, ARTnews reported, and now Hessink’s auction house in Amsterdam is readying an unauthorized one for the murals of Banksy. The anonymous street artist has not commented. [The Art Newspaper]

The water level in the Great Salt Lake in Utah—the home of Robert Smithson’s storied Spiral Jetty (1970)—has dropped below the lowest level ever recorded (in 170 years of recording). State lawmakers are calling for legislation to safeguard the lake, amid concerns about “toxic dust, ecological collapse, and economic consequences,” Lindsay Whitehurst reports. [The Associated Press]

Art collector Peter Brant and his wife, model Stephanie Seymour, snapped up townhouses located next to one another on Manhattan’s Upper East Side for $19.99 million. The homes reportedly feature “a walk-in silver safe and hidden doors.” [New York Post]

Despite French President Emmanuel Macron’s call in 2017 to repatriate colonial-era African works held in the country’s collections, progress has been slow, Vincent Noce reports. Macron’s administration is currently opposing a bill that would create a commission to address the matter because it wants to maintain control over the process. [The Art Newspaper]

A popular Instagram account has been posting photos snapped at the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1990s—“a fun moment in history,” said its creator, Matthew Atkatz, who plans to share submissions from other schools soon. [The New York Times]

The Kicker

HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN ART EXPERIENCE so profound that it made you do something a bit reckless or—to put it another way—brave? Holland Cotter has. The New York Times co-chief art critic shares in a new review: “In 1983, at Japan Society in Manhattan, I saw a show of early Buddhist sculpture so beautiful that I maxed out my Visa card to fly to Japan to find more.” (It seems to have been the right move.) Cotter writes later that “two experiences on my first day there surprised me.” We will not spoil them here! [The New York Times]


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