Met Director on Deaccessioning, Broomberg & Chanarin on ‘Suicide’, and More: Morning Links from February 18, 2021

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The Headlines

ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART director Max Hollein floated the possibility of selling some of the Met’s art to help pay for the care of its collection. Now he has told the Art Newspaper that “nothing is going to change” with its regular deaccessioning programs if it pursues that course. The Met sells art regularly—raising, on average, about $15 million a year, according to an online statement from Hollein. Those funds are typically earmarked for new acquisitions under industry rules, but they been relaxed temporarily by the Association of Art Museum Directors as a result of the pandemic. That means that the Met could redirect such money to conservator salaries or other expenses it associates with collection care. The Met has said its revenue shortfall may be as large as $150 million for this fiscal year, so the move could provide some relief. Many institutions have pursued deaccessioning campaigns over the past year, for various reasons, as ARTnews has reported. Critics charge that such sales betray the museum’s mission, and former Met director Thomas Campbell recently offered a colorful warning : “Deaccessioning will be like crack cocaine to the addict—a rapid hit, that becomes a dependency.” Hollein said in his statement: “I take very seriously the impact that our actions have on other institutions. I also realize that others may have different philosophies.”

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DAMIEN HIRST JUST UNVEILED A GIANT OUTDOOR SCULPTURE SHOW in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and gave an interview to critic Jonathan Jones in the Guardian in which he reveals that he “flirted with the idea” of incorporating dead people into his art. One idea involved—let’s quote Jones’s description—“getting a male and a female corpse, cutting them in half and fitting them together with his penis inside her.” Alas, Hirst ultimately decided against it. The artist also discussed his appreciation for Banksy. Speaking of: A mural by the pseudonymous street artist in Nottingham, England, has been sold for a price in the six figures to Brandler Galleries in the town of Brentwood, the Guardian reports. The work was removed from a wall by a company that specializes in that delicate matter.

The Digest

The Australian painter Jason Benjamin has died at the age of 50. The cause is not yet known. [The Guardian]

Artist Michael Phelan is creating an arts and cultural foundation in Marfa, Texas, called Marfa Invitational. It will sport 15,000 square feet of space, and is set to be completed this fall. [The New York Times]

Nigerian dealer Adenrele Sonariwo has opened a branch of her Rele Gallery in Los Angeles. “We’re doing the artists a disservice by just being in Lagos,” Sonariwo told Robin Pogrebin. [The New York Times]

A 12th-century Islamic bathhouse has been discovered amid renovations of a tapas bar in Seville, Spain. [The Guardian]

The Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio has received $1 million from Roy Lichtenstein Foundation to endow a fellowship for emerging museum professionals. [The Columbus Dispatch]

The latest Time 100 Next list, which focuses on influential, emerging leaders, includes painters Salman Toor and Amoako Boafo, as well as fashion designer Telfar Clemens, whose entry was penned by musician and artist Solange Knowles. [Time]

Since 1990, only two artists born in East Germany have represented Germany at the Venice Biennale. Why have East German artists not received more recognition, Daniel Völzke asks? [Monopol]

Writer and artist Adrian Dannatt is currently showcasing his prodigious art collection, and selling a new book of his obituaries, at Miguel Abreu in New York. [The Villager/AMNY]

Flashback: Last year, Dannatt memorialized the late Paul Kasmin as “a man of lightly-worn erudition and firmly dictated good taste”—“our own inimitable prince.” [ARTnews]

Artist Paul McCarthy got the profile treat by M.H. Miller. The irrepressible figure currently has a show at Hauser & Wirth in New York. [T: The New York Times Style Magazine]

Kim Kardashian shared a portrait of herself shot by Vanessa Beecroft[@KimKardashian/Twitter]

The Kicker

ARTISTS ADAM BROOMBERG AND OLIVER CHANARIN ARE ENDING their long-running, and award-winning, creative partnership, Broomberg & Chanarin, the Art Newspaper reports, and they are doing so in high style, staging what is being billed as a “posthumous retrospective” that will run for three months at the Fabra i Coats Contemporary Art Centre in Barcelona. “Towards the end of our collaboration the mood shifted radically from a loving, combative partnership to a house fire that we both urgently needed to escape,” Chanarin said. Fabri said in a statement that the two have “legally, economically, creatively, and conceptually committed suicide.” Broomberg said that he prefers the term “euthanasia.” Sounds like it will be a pretty fun show!

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


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