Museum of the Bible Sends Looted Gospel Home, Australian Dealer Wanted for Not Paying Artists, and More: Morning Links for July 27, 2022

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The Headlines

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COLLECTION MANAGEMENT. The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., said that it has returned a looted, handwritten gospel to the Greek Orthodox Church, the New York Times reports. The item, which dates back more than a millennium, is believed to have been taken by Bulgarian soldiers from the Kosinitza Monastery in Greece during World War II. The D.C. museum, which bought the work at Christie’s in 2011, has in the past been plagued by claims that its collection contained an array of illegally trafficked cultural property. In 2017, Hobby Lobby, whose owners founded the museum, paid a $3 million fine for importing thousands of looted items, which have since been returned.

POLICE BLOTTER. A warrant is out for the arrest of Australian art dealer Tristian Koenig, who has been accused of failing to pay artists after selling their work, the Art Newspaper reports. Koenig’s whereabouts are unknown. Also missing: A famous portrait of British prime minister Winston Churchill by photographer Yousuf Karsh, which was replaced with a replica in a lounge at the Château Laurier hotel in Ottawa, CBC reports. An eagle-eyed employee recently noticed that something was awry about the piece, leading to the discovery of the switch. Police are investigating. On a happier note, a painting by Ernest Holden that disappeared in the 1930s from a historic building in England was recovered after being spotted in a charity eBay shop, BBC News reports.

The Digest

John K. Rauch, a cofounder of the award-winning architecture firm that became Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown, died last week at the age of 91. Rauch was also a painter, and received a certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2001. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Joanne Koch, a fierce defender of artistic freedom who ran Film at Lincoln Center in New York from 1971 to 2003, died last week at 92. Her group’s selections sometimes drew controversy, as when Jean-Luc Godard’s Hail Mary attracted thousands of protesters in 1985. She said at the time that “art has to be respected as art.” [The New York Times and Deadline]

The international powerhouse gallery Perrotin has opened a shop in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Resort and Casino, selling prints, books, and more. The latest venture comports with Emmanuel Perrotin‘s belief that “art is everyone,” the dealer said in a statement. [The Art Newspaper]

Architect Moshe Safdie—whose long list of projects includes the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the National Gallery of Canada—has donated his 100,000-item archive to his alma mater, McGill University in Quebec. The gift also includes his unit in his famed Habitat 67 complex in the city. [CBC]

The Kith streetwear empire has collaborated with—why not?—the American Museum of Natural History in New York on a new collection of clothing and accessories for men and children. The 51 pieces highlight the museum’s collections, and include a “T-Rex Vintage Tee” and “Fossil Caps.” [Press Release/Kith]

The Kicker

CLOSE READING. The Art Institute of Chicago has a Paul Cézanne survey on for about two more weeks, and just published an essay by artist Kerry James Marshall on the modernist pioneer. It is a delightful, heady read. At one point, he discusses the long time that his forebear is said to have spent on the painting  Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair (1888–90). “What was Cézanne trying to get right after all that time?” Marshall writes. “Every picture painted must be made to work. And all pictures work in accordance with a set of ideals and principles imagined beforehand.” [Outside Voices/AIC]


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