Key Restitution Case Tossed Out by U.S. Court, Former Orlando Museum Trustees Speak Out, and More: Morning Links from August 31, 2022

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The Headlines

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INTERNATIONAL TREASURE. A long-running legal saga over a horde of centuries-old artifacts housed in Germany has come to an end, at least for now. The Washington Post reports that, last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia tossed out a lawsuit brought by the heirs of German Jewish art dealers over the Guelph Treasure, which is currently housed at the Bode Museum in Berlin. The heirs had claimed that the objects in it, including crucifixes and altars, had been sold under duress around the time of World War II, and they had taken their lawsuit to the U.S. in the hope of winning it back. As ARTnews previously reported, the U.S. Supreme Court sided in 2021 with Germany, saying that the “law of property” should forbid the suit from being heard in AmericaHermann Parzinger, head of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz foundation that manages the Guelph Treasure, this week welcomed the dismissal, saying that the trove of artifacts was “not a forced sale due to Nazi persecution.”

A ‘MONSTER’ OF A SITUATION is still unfolding at the Orlando Museum of Art in Florida, which is still reeling after the FBI raided a Basquiat exhibition, saying that it contained faked artworks. The Orlando Sentinel reports that some former trustees of the museum are now claiming that they had attempted to make the public aware of the investigation into that show, titled “Heroes and Monsters” earlier, but that the institution had declined to release word of it. They also said they were “terminated” by the former board chair, Cynthia Brumback, due to a limit on terms for trustees that had previously gone unenforced. Brumback herself and the museum’s interim director, Luder Whitlockleft last week, as ARTnews previously reported.

The Digest

The National Portrait Gallery in London is seeking to buy a Joshua Reynolds portrait for £50 million ($58.1 million) in the hope of keeping it in the U.K. If the purchase goes through, it will be among the most expensive works ever acquired by the museum. [The Art Newspaper]

U.K. museums are hoping to take part in a “warm banks” plan that would offer those in need heated refuge during the wintertime, but there’s one problem: many institutions in the country can barely pay their own rising bills as is. [The Guardian]

Is the San Francisco gallery scene on the decline? Some, including spaces like GagosianPace, and Jenkins Johnson, have closed up shop there or are getting ready to focus their attention elsewhere, but other dealers who’ve been in the city for years resisted the notion that it’s time for their colleagues to jump ship. [The New York Times]

Police in Utica, New York, said that a group of five children, all of them younger than 11 years old, ransacked the Sculpture Space residency program. The minors were arrested this past Sunday while attempting to throw rocks at a car. [Hyperallergic]

Texas’s Beeville Art Museum will display 48 works by Alithia Ramirez, a 10-year-old who was killed during a recent mass shooting in Uvalde. Ramirez, whose work was previously honored by Google, had dreamed of one day becoming an artist. [CW33]

After its previous leader resigned in August, the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg in Florida has named Anne-Marie Russell interim executive director. She is currently the head of Architecture Sarasota[Tampa Bay Times]

The Kicker

FRIENDS FOREVER. On Instagram, actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie posted a love letter to the artist Ai Weiwei, whom she called a “brave creative spirit.” To toast Ai, she put up a picture taken by the artist JR that shows the two beaming—her in a pair of chic sunglasses, him in a T-shirt. They got to know each other, she wrote, when they were both in Venice, where Ai is currently having a show of new works crafted from Murano glass at the Berengo Studio. In response to Jolie’s post, Ai commented, “Dear,thinking of you ❤️.” Whether the two saw Cecilia Alemani’s current edition of the Venice Biennale together unfortunately went unmentioned. [Instagram/@angelinajolie]


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