Designer Martin Margiela Is Back as an Artist, the U.S. Army’s Nazi Art, and More: Morning Links from January 5, 2021

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, January 5.

Martin Margiela is planning a Paris solo show, Louis Kahn dorms facing destruction have been saved, and the I.R.S. is demanding a big tax bill from Prince’s estate.
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The Headlines

AFTER QUITTING THE FASHION WORLD IN 2009, Martin Margiela is set to stage a solo show—as an artist—at the Lafayette Anticipations gallery in Paris in April. The Guardian reports that “sculptures, photographs, and installations, all previously unseen in public,” will be on deck for the exhibition. Margiela (a favorite of white-cube dealers the world over) is notorious for declining to have his photo taken and and refusing face-to-face interviews, the paper notes, making him something of the Cady Noland of the fashion industry. (He sold more product, though.) Putting on his artist hat, he follows in the footsteps of Helmut Lang, who shuttered his own vanguard-minded fashion enterprise in 2005 to pursue art. (Lang destroyed pieces from his archive to use as material in his work. Here’s hoping Margiela considers a more restrained approach.)

Hundreds of artworks glorifying the Nazi regime sit in storage at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, having been captured during and after World War II. In a fascinating New Yorker storyDexter Filkins pays that warehouse a visit. It seems that the U.S. actually scooped up thousands of such works as part of an effort to ensure they would not contribute to a return of Nazism. (Four pieces are actually by Hitler.) The Army captain in charge of the project found pieces “hidden in a Bavarian castle, another cache at a black market on the banks of the Danube, and about a thousand works under the protection of a colonel in the Russian zone,” Filkins writes. (It’s not exactly as glamorous as hunting the Ghent Altarpiece, but it sounds like it was still a pretty satisfying ride.) How is the actual art? Filkins says they are “so vacant of nuance and irony that they can approach kitsch.” 

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Auction Action

Millenials have been snapping up jewelry, whiskies, and handbags at auction houses, helping the firms weather the pandemic, Kelly Crow reports. [The Wall Street Journal]

Those millennials might be interested in this online auction of memorabilia from Gem Spa, the storied East Village institution that served countless egg creams before shuttering last year. [6sqft]

Bendor Grosvenor is not a millennial, but the art historian is addicted to online auctions. “I sit at the computer like one of those chickens in an experiment, pecking the right button, hoping for a treat,” he writes. [The Art Newspaper]

The Digest

A plan to tear down 14 dorms designed by Louis Kahn for the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India, has been withdrawn after architectural experts decried the move. [The New York Times]

A previously unknown El Greco has been discovered in Spain. [ARTnews]

The Internal Revenue Service believes that Prince’s estate is worth about $163 million, almost twice what its administer say. It is seeking almost $40 million in taxes and fees. [The New York Times]

Paige Rense, who ran Architectural Digest for nearly four full decades, is dead at 91. [The New York Times]

Artworks from 1925, by Arthur Dove, Joan Miró, and others, just entered the public domain. [Artnet News]

Hot on the heels of all that public-art news yesterday, a sculpture of a giant moon has been unveiled along the Han river in Seoul. [Yonhap]

The Kicker

Art historian Michael Lobel, who seems to have a relevant artwork at the ready on Twitter for any occasion, highlighted a vaccination scene in a renowned Diego Rivera mural[Twitter]

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


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