Monument Wars in the U.K., Matthew Barney–Installed Clock Goes Dark, and More: Morning Links from January 19, 2021

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The Headlines

PUBLIC MONUMENTS WOULD RECEIVE SPECIAL PROTECTION under new legislation that is being considered by the United Kingdom, the BBC reports. The proposed measures would require that communities be consulted before monuments are removed from view, and a minister would be able to veto such an action. Last year, protesters in Bristol tossed a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the city’s harbor. Works should not be taken down ”on a whim or at the behest of a baying mob,” U.K. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick wrote in an op-ed in the Sunday Telegraph. In the Guardian, an opponent of the new measure called it an attempt to “precipitate a contrived culture war, to agitate the Tory base and distract from this government’s terrible failings around Covid.” Across the Atlantic, President Trump added names to a long list of luminaries (more than 200 now!) that he wants sculptures of in a Garden of American Heroes he floated last year. (Variety has the full lineup.) Artists making the cut, alongside Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, include photographer Ansel Adams and painter John Singer Sargent. The project is unlikely to ever come to fruition, NPR notes.

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A GIANT CLOCK ALONG THE EAST RIVER IN QUEENS IS ABOUT TO GO DARK. Rachel Corbett of Artnet News reports that the digital timepiece was installed by Matthew Barney and a team of collaborators outside his studio in 2017 to count down to the moment when President Trump’s term was set to expire. Once it disappears, New Yorkers seeking a big art clock can still head to Union Square, where Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones’s Metronome  (1999) hovers above the street, counting the seconds to and from midnight. (Some may recall that artists Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd turned it into a “Climate Clock” for a stretch last year.) Staying on the clock theme here, art historian Michael Lobel also proposed, on Twitter, that one of the museums that owns Christian Marclay’s 24-hour masterpiece, The Clock (2010), should screen it online to conclude at noon on Wednesday, when President-elect Biden is inaugurated. There’s still time for it happen!

The Digest

Dame Margaret Weston, the first woman to run a national museum the United Kingdom, is dead at 94. [The Guardian]

Artist and educator Jin Lee, who created the Shijiezi Art Museum in China, has died. He was 56. [ArtAsiaPacific]

The painter Kong Sung-hun has died at the age of 56. [Korea JoonAng Daily]

An online platform called South South has launched to draw attention to work made in the Global South. South African gallery Goodman Gallery started the initiative. [Ocula]

Sotheby’s will auction the collection of the late illustrator Pierre Le-Tan, which includes a David Hockney portrait. [WWD]

A Frans Hal painting has been stolen three times from a small museum in the Netherlands. Why is it so popular with thieves? [The New York Times]

After resigning as Māori arts curator at the Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand, Nigel Borell is “calling on arts institutions to be better at sharing power,” Ella Stewart reports. [Radio New Zealand]

William Feaver’s biography of painter Lucian Freud is “hairier than a bonobo,” Dwight Garner writes. The second volume in the two-part tome has just been published. [The New York Times]

The Uffizi in Florence has started an online video series that asks chefs in the city to cook dishes based on works in its collection. [The Art Newspaper]

Pittsburgh artist Noa Denmon created the Google Doodle used to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the search engine’s homepage. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

State-run museums are reopening in Seoul, South Korea, after being closed because of Covid restrictions for more than a month. [Yonhap News Agency]

An installation of pink seesaws stretching through a fence at the U.S.–Mexico border was named 2020 Design of the Year by the Design Museum in London. [The Guardian]

The Kicker

Miniature art is big right now. (Sorry.) Yesterday, we linked to Johanna Fateman’s recent essay on Carrie Stettheimer’s storied dollhouse. Now LAunscripted is highlighting the work of Los Angeles artist Ana Bagayan, who built an elaborate dollhouse for her art. “I’m showing that dolls and toys aren’t just for playing with,” Bagayan says. Meanwhile, Mardie Rhodes, a docent at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington, spent her lockdown creating a home for her expansive collection of Barbies. “I thought I was just making an art gallery, a Barbie’s art gallery,” Rhodes tells the local NBC affiliateKING-TV . But then, she “started to think about what it would be like to create a whole Barbie world.” Her Barbieville can be toured in an 18-minute video. Barbie has “had more than 200 careers,” Rhodes says. “She’s run for president seven or eight times. She sends a message you can be whatever you want to be.”

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


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