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LEGAL AFFAIRS. In 2012, a Barcelona gallery called Principal Art loaned a Bosco Sodi painting to London dealer Esperanza Koren. The next year, when a gallery staffer said they wanted the work back to sell it, Koren said she did not know where it was. Principal sued her in the United Kingdom, and now a judge has ruled that Koren must pay the firm £111,000 (about $144,000), the Guardian reports. The judge, Alan Saggerson, said that the dealer’s “submissions have such a hollow ring,” and proposed that the pink-red tondo by Sodi was used by her “as security for for other debts.” Saggerson also put on his art-critic hat, writing that the work “would seem to have the appearance of a burnt digestive biscuit. This is of value to some in some quarters of the world.”
ARCHAEOLOGICAL FILES. The private theater of the first-century Roman emperor Nero, where he is said to have fiddled while the city burned, may have been discovered beneath a garden near the Vatican by archaeologists, The Times of London reports. ● Archaeologists at Němčice in the Czech Republic have found “an ancient glass workshop teeming with ancient Celtic coins and glass artifacts” that date back more than two millennia, the Miami Herald reports. Their findings were published in the journal Antiquity. ● And big news for our spice-loving readers: A new study in Science Advances says that non-native curry spices have been found on stone tools at Óc Eo in Vietnam from at least 1,800 years ago, according to Euronews. It is the earliest-known appearance of curry beyond the borders of India, the outlet says.
Dealer David Zwirner nixed plans for a $50 million Renzo Piano–designed gallery in Chelsea with 50,000 square foot across five stories, Robin Pogrebin reports. Zwirner, mentioning “financial headwinds during Covid,” will spend that for Annabelle Selldorf to design a two-story space with 18,000 square feet nearby. [The New York Times]
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, a woman alleges that, in 2002, billionaire collector and MoMA trustee Leon D. Black raped her at Jeffrey Epstein’s Upper East Side townhouse when she was 16. Black’s lawyer said in a statement that the claims “are totally made up” and “entirely uncorroborated.” [The Washington Post]
The first-generation Abstract Expressionist Joop Sanders, who made his name with multi-panel monochromatic paintings that can be rearranged, died earlier this month in Putnam County, New York, at the age of 101. [Artforum]
The Judd Foundation has released a new version of a website that catalogs Donald Judd’s central library in Marfa, Texas. The artist collected a total of some 13,000 volumes, which are housed in multiple locations. Judd once said that his library is “about everything.” [Judd Foundation]
NASA released juicy new photos from the James Webb Space Telescope that show “a pair of rambunctious young stars,” Ashley Strickland writes. Named Herbig-Haro 46/47, they are located about 1,470 light-years from our humble planet. [CNN]
Planning a trip to art-rich Arles, France? Critic Arthur Lubow has “an art lover’s guide” to the majestic city. [W Magazine]
A POSITIVE EXTERNALITY. In the Guardian, Andrew Dickson has a fascinating story about the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, a program set up by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative administration in the U.K. in the 1980s that provided £40 a week to people who said they wanted to start businesses. It proved to be popular with self-employed artists—including future giants like Rachel Whiteread, Tracey Emin, and Jeremy Deller—who used the initiative to support their practices in various ways. Dickson asked Whiteread if Thatcherism had actually been good for culture. “Yeah, it’s a little bit strange, the whole thing,” she said. “I don’t think they had a clue what would happen.” [The Guardian]