Damien Hirst Goes NFT, German Prince Pursues Family’s Former Art, and More: Morning Links from March 15, 2021

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The Headlines

DAMIEN HIRST IS GETTING INTO THE NFT GAME. (Kind of amazing that it actually took the entrepreneurial artist this long.) The YBA told the Financial Times that his forthcoming venture “challenges the concept of value through money and art.” Titled The Currency, it will involve 10,000 works on paper—twice the number of images that comprised the Beeple NFT sold for $69.3 million last week, for those keeping score. Hirst offered this tease: “The whole project is an artwork, and anyone who buys The Currency will participate in this work. It’s not just about owning it.”

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THE BIG QUESTION IN SOUTH KOREA RIGHT NOW is what is going to happen to the voluminous art collection of Lee Kun-hee, the Samsung chief who died last year at the age of 78. His heirs face a tax bill that could be as high as $10 billion, and will soon have to begin paying. Lee’s more than 10,000 artworks—including choice pieces by Picasso and Rothko and key examples of traditional Korean art—have been undergoing appraisal. Naturally, museums in the country would like that work, and some in the art industry have been lobbying for the government to allow tax payments via art, the Korea Herald reports. “If we don’t have a system in place allowing tax payment by artwork, we’ll lose the collection,” Lee Kwang-soo, the president of the Korean Fine Arts Associationtold Reuters. Some reports have said that the family plans to donate the works, or at least some of them, regardless. The clock is ticking. Watch this space.

The Digest

The director of the forthcoming M+ museum in Hong Kong, Suhanya Raffel, said that it will commit itself to artistic freedom and not shy away from art that addresses issues like the Tiananmen Square Massacre. [South China Morning Post]

A royal fiasco: “Georg Friedrich Prinz von Preussen’s quest to recover thousands of artworks and artifacts that were once in his family’s possession is not going well,” Catherine Hickley writes of the head of the Hohenzollern dynasty, which once ruled Germany. [The New York Times]

Some Museum of Modern Art trustees have reportedly been in talks with the museum’s billionaire chairman Leon Black about him stepping down from that position when his terms ends this summer because of his ties to Jeffrey Epstein. Black declined to comment. [NYP]

A New Jersey court ruled against Peter Max in a suit he filed claiming that a $48 million insurance payout was too low for artworks damaged in a New Jersey warehouse during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.   [Associated Press]

At the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, seven artists have yanked their work from an exhibition “over complaints about access, equity and labor rights,” Ruth Lopez reports. [The Art Newspaper]

Mega-collector Dasha Zhukova and shipping heir Stavros Niarchos have a new son, Philip Stavros Niarchos. [Page Six]

In California, the San Diego Art Institute and the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas are merging to create the Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Both of their locations will continue to operate, with Lux’s space taking the name ICA North. [Del Mar Times]

Kathy Johnson Bowles has been named director of the Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science, and Art in Scranton, Pennsylvania (President Biden’s birthplace). She’s previously led the Longwood Center for the Visual Art in Farmville, Virgnia. [NEPA Scene]

The Tokyo-based art group TeamLab has created an exhibition in the Japanese capital that features a sauna. [Reuters/Yahoo! Neww]

The Museum of Modern Art created elegant stand-ins for some of Alexander Calder’s sculpture to plan an upcoming exhibition to him. Photographs of the pieces delight. [The New York Times]

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The Kicker

THE HEIRS OF TINTIN CREATOR Hergé (a.k.a. Georges Prosper Remi) are not fans of pieces by the artist Xavier Marabout that insert the character in Edward Hopper–inspired scenes, often wooing women, the Guardian reports. Interestingly, their issue seems to be less that about Marabout’s use of the comics star, and more about the presence of those ladies. “Taking advantage of the reputation of a character to immerse him in an erotic universe has nothing to do with humor,” a lawyer for the heirs said. He added that Hergé “explained his choice not to involve women in his work, because he found that they are rarely comic elements.” Got it. The heirs have filed suit. [The Guardian]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Source: artnews.com

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