Memphis Brooks Hires LACMA Deputy as Director, Martha Stewart Interviews Ai Weiwei, and More: Morning Links for July 27, 2022

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The Headlines

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THE MUSEUM-LEADERSHIP NEWS DOES NOT QUIT. Last week, the Met said its director, Max Hollein, will add chief executive to his title. Now, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art has named its next director, the Commercial Appeal reports. She is Zoe Kahr, who is currently the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ’s deputy director for curatorial and planning. Kahr takes the place of Emily Ballew Neff, who stepped down last year and now runs the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas. She will be tasked with overseeing the institution’s move to a new Downtown locale, a project with a $150 million price tag. Meanwhile, William Underwood Eiland is retiring after more than 30 years leading the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, per ArtDaily, and the CEO and director of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg in Florida, Kristen A. Shepherd, has stepped down after more than five years there, per the Tampa Bay Times.

LEGENDS ONLY. Businesswoman Martha Stewart recently had artist Ai Weiwei on her podcast , and she pointed out that the two have a lot in common: They love food (Ai has apparently cooked for her twice; she is hoping to return the favor), they love cats, and among other things, they have been incarcerated—Stewart by the United States government (following a conviction on charges related to insider trading), Ai by the Chinese government (amid what it described as a tax investigation). However, Stewart was clear that her time in prison “was like going away to a children’s camp compared to what you had to go through.” In any case, they cover a lot of ground in their 40-minute chat, and it is well worth a listen.

The Digest

The Horniman Museum in London has said it will repatriate 72 objects looted from Benin City in 1897 to Nigeria, a move that its chairwoman, Eve Salomon, said is “both moral and appropriate.” The material includes 12 plaques identified as Benin Bronzes[The Press Association/Bloomberg and The Associated Press/Los Angeles Times]

Tate has reportedly paid a settlement, without admitting liability, to three artists who lodged a complaint against it alleging victimization, breach of contract, and race discrimination. Filing the action, they said that the museum denied a request made by one of them, Amy Sharrocks, to collaborate on a museum project with artist Jade Montserrat, who has accused former art dealer Anthony d’Offay, a Tate donor, of sexual misconduct. (D’Offay has denied any wrongdoing.) Tate has said that the terms of the contract did not allow for such a collaboration. The project was subsequently canceled.  [The Guardian]

The Canadian government is drafting a legal reform that will provide artists with royalties when their work is resold. Similar programs exist in at least 90 countries, including the United Kingdom and France. [The Globe and Mail]

While excavations at Pompeii long focused on upper-class dwellings, archaeologists have been studying the homes of middle- and lower-class residents of late. Officials recently detailed their findings in one such structure, which featured both a decorated cistern and a room with earthen floors. [The Guardian]

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Maryland recently received a drawing by the 17th-century Italian artist Sassoferrato as a gift. Alas, an eagle-eyed curator at the museum, Daniel Fulco, identified it as a piece that had been stolen many decades ago in Munich. On view at the museum right now, it will soon be heading home. [The Herald-Mail]

The Kicker

PYRO—AND CRYPTO—MANIAC. As was noted late last month in BreakfastDamien Hirst is getting ready to burn thousands of artworks that people chose to relinquish in exchange for keeping NFTs linked to them. (They could only keep one or the other.) It’s a project that Hirst titled The Currency. Of the 4,851 pieces that he will destroy next month, 1,000 belong to the artist himselfThe Art Newspaper notes. In a buoyant Twitter thread, Hirst said that he decided to keep the NFTs instead of the physical pieces. He’s loving the NFT world, it seems. Said Hirst: “I have been in the physical art world a long time and I expect people to have agendas and shit, and I’ve seen a lot of bollox and I’m amazed at how this community breeds support and seems to care about shit.” [TAN and @hirst_official/Twitter]


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