National Gallery of Art to Return Benin Bronze, Artist Sells Her Eggs as NFT, and More: Morning Links from December 6, 2021

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The Headlines

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ANOTHER MUSEUM RETURNS ITS BENIN BRONZE. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is the latest institution with plans to send back a work from a cache of pieces looted from the Kingdom of Benin by British soldiers in 1897. Per the Art Newspaper, the work in question, a sculpture of a cockerel, is the only Benin Bronze  that the museum owns. The National Gallery said it was “eager” to begin working with Nigeria on the repatriation. It’s the latest museum to make such a plan in recent months, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, and more. Meanwhile, Germany is plotting a mass repatriation for 2022.

MIAMI WRAP-UP: Art Basel Miami Beach may have closed out its run this past weekend, but the news keeps flowing in from the fair. During the run of the fair, artist Narine Arakelian revealed that she’d sell her eggs as an NFT, Page Six reports. She’s hoping they’ll be bought by a couple. Arakelian was in town at the same time as a bunch of stars. Page Six also said that Lenny Kravitz was on hand to do a private show, and TMZ reported that Cardi B was spotted at a party. Looking for more Art Basel reporting? ARTnews has you covered, with sales reports, guides to the best offerings at the fair, a look at how Art Basel made steps to diversify, and more.

The Digest

A “reformed looter” who was helping Cambodia retrieve stolen artifacts has reportedly died. Still, he left behind enough testimony to aid in continued work on that front. [The New York Times]

The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Australia’s biggest art award, this year went to Vincent FantauzzoAndrew Greensmith, and Michael Vale. The artists will take home AUD $100,000 ($70,000) each. [The Guardian]

There’s now a museum in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, between North Korea and South Korea. It’s called Unimaru, and if you’re hoping to visit it, you better read up in advance—there’s a dress code and a complicated process for returning to where you came from, as well as a strict cap on how many people can attend each day. [CNN]

Football player Keith Rivers, a linebacker for the Giants, discussed his recent forays into art collecting. In his collection are works by Sonia GomesJon RafmanAndy Warhol, and more. [New York Post]

Artist Luke Ching Chin-wai’s latest project is cleaning the stations of Hong Kong’s subway system. To do so, he got a job with a cleaning service whose work is typically relied upon by the railway company. The person interviewing him had no idea he was an artist. [South China Morning Post]

The Kicker

PRISON BREAK. Banksy’s latest stunt involves attempting to buy the prison in England where Oscar Wilde was once detained for leading an affair with a man. Yes, you read that correctly. To obtain the funds, Banksy is aiming to sell a stencil that appeared on the facade of a prison in Reading for £10 million ($13.2 million). That stencil features an inmate holding onto tied up sheets, along with a typewriter in tow. If it sells, it’ll get the elusive street artist most of the way to the £12.5 million ($16.6 million) needed to buy the building. He plans to turn the prison into an arts center.  [The Guardian]


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