German Cultural Group Condemns Art-Gluing Climate Protests, New York School Commissions James Turrell and More: Morning Links for August 26, 2022

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The Headlines

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A TEN-FIGURE SALE. Clear your schedule, ready your paddle, and line up a pile of cash (or a fulsome line of credit): The treasure-filled collection of the late Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen is coming to Christie’s in New York in November with a valuation north of $1 billionARTnews reports. The proceeds will go to charity, as Allen—who died in 2018 —had planned. The lot lineup has not yet been announced, but it will include more than 150 works from artists including Botticelli and Cézanne, whose La Montagne Sainte-Victoire (1888–90) is arriving with an estimate above $100 million. (The exact timing of the auction has not yet been announced.) If all goes according to plan, the haul will set a new all-time record for a single-collection auction.

GOO GONE. Following cases of climate activists gluing themselves to the frames of artworks in the U.K. and Italy, the movement has now reached Germany, with actions this week at the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden (a Raphael), the Staedel Museum in Frankfurt (Poussin), and the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin (Cranach the Elder), the Associated Press reports. An organization that advocates for cultural institutions in the country, the German Cultural Council, slammed the protests. “As much as I can understand the despair of the climate activists, I say clearly that the act of gluing themselves to the frames of famous works of art is clearly wrong,” Olaf Zimmermann, its managing director, told the AP. “The risk of damaging the artworks is very high.” 

The Digest

The International Council of Museums (or ICOM) has updated its official definition of a museum for the first time in 15 years, and it now includes words like “accessible,” “diversity,” and “sustainability.” [Artnet News]

Germany said that it has inked an agreement with Nigeria to begin the process of sending hundreds of Benin Bronzes that were looted from the Kingdom of Benin (now part of Nigeria) back home. Last year, Germany announced its intention to do so, a move that Nigeria has called on other nations to follow. [The Associated Press]

President Donald Trump downsized two national monuments in Utah that feature ancient Indigenous cliff dwellings and petroglyphs. The Biden administration restored their old boundaries, and the state is now suing in an attempt to block that. [The Associated Press]

The Quaker private school Friends Seminary near Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan, has commissioned its own James Turrell Skyspace, which will be unveiled after a campus renovation next year. The general public will also be able to visit by making free reservations. [The Art Newspaper]

A show at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney looks at how American artist Sol LeWitt was inspired by the work of the Indigenous Australian artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye, whose work he collected. [The Guardian]

The director of the Queens MuseumSally Tallant, shared her schedule for one recent day with the Washington Post’s “The Work Day” column. It starts with swimming and Marmite on toast, and then art-related activities begin. [WP]

The Kicker

TAKING FLACK. The not-uncontroversial art publicist Kaitlin Phillips got the profile treatment from Amy Larocca in the New York Times in a story that features guest appearances from artist Ryan McNamara and Artforum editor David Velasco. Former Times media columnist Ben Smith also alights. “I think she’s one of those New York characters like Arianna Huffington, or Al Sharpton, or Donald Trump , who just realizes the rules that everyone else is playing by are kind of made-up,” he said. [NYT]


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