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DUTCH MASTERS. The Senate in the Netherlands gave the go-ahead for the government’s purchase of a 1636 Rembrandt self-portrait from the Rothschild family for €175 million (about $199 million), a plan that had faced criticism, the Art Newspaper reports. The deal is being done via a trust in the Cook Islands (a tax haven) linked to a holding company in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (ditto), as the Guardian reports, and some argued that the deal is counter to the country’s efforts to quash tax avoidance. Its culture minister has reportedly defended the buy as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. (Spoken like a true collector.) Meanwhile, Artforum reports, some Dutch arts institutions protested their shuttering amid the current coronavirus lockdown by reopening and offering services like haircuts and manicures—activities that are currently permitted under the rules. At the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, nail art inspired by the Starry Night creator was available.
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HITTING THE SLOPES. Gagosian is opening a branch in the luxe resort town of Gstaad, Switzerland, Angelica Villa reports in ARTnews. The mega firm had previously staged a number of pop-up shows there. First up in the new space is a show of paintings by Damien Hirst titled “Myths, Legends and Monsters.” It opens on Valentine’s Day. The outpost is Gagosian’s third in the Swiss Confederation, having opened in Geneva in 2010 and Basel in 2019. It brings its total count of venues worldwide to a formidable 19. Almost exactly a decade ago, when Hirst famously presented shows of his “Spot” paintings at every Gagosian location, it had just 11.
The Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, who created unforgettable, and hotly debated, postmodernist public housing projects in France, died on Friday at the age of 82. [The New York Times]
Arne Glimcher, the founder of the globe-spanning Pace Gallery in Boston in 1960, is opening a new branch that he will personally curate in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. “I always wanted to be the director of MoMA,” he told reporter Ted Loos. “So this is my little modern art museum.” [The New York Times]
British singer Robbie Williams will part with three Banksy works at Sotheby’s. The total of their top estimates is £10 million ($13.6 million). “These pieces combine three things I love: hip-hop culture, naughtiness and comedy,” Williams told journalist Melanie Gerlis. [Financial Times]
Mauricio Fernández Garza, a three-time mayor of San Pedro Garza García, Mexico, has drawn criticism for using public funds to help fund the construction a replica of his mansion that will showcase his art holdings (a Frida Kahlo self-portrait, a plesiosaur skeleton, and more) and then become a cultural center. [Associated Press]
Two hundred pairs of Louis Vuitton/Nike Air Force 1s created by the late artist and designer Virgil Abloh will be offered in an online sale at Sotheby’s, with the proceeds going to a scholarship fund established by Abloh. The opening bid for each pair is $2,000. [Penta/Barrons]
A new online search tool called Mexican American Art Since 1848 aims to make records and materials housed at various institutions easily available in one place. It was developed by Constance Cortez and Karen Mary Davalos, and the latter describes it as a means of “addressing the invisibility and lack of access to” material in that field. [The Latinx Project]
Explore Santa Fe’s art scene on a five-day trip led by Marion Maneker, former ARTnews president and editorial director. Immerse yourself in New Mexico’s historic and contemporary art landscapes with guided tours, special access to private galleries, and more. Full Covid-19 vaccination is required. [ARTnews]
PULLING THE PLUG. Artist Tracey Emin lambasted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the recent revelations about parties held at his official residence during tough stretches of the pandemic, telling the Guardian that she finds his “behavior and lack of contrition bizarre.” On Instagram , she said that she is requesting that a neon text piece that she donated to 10 Downing Street be taken off view. The work reads, “More Passion.” Said Emin, “I feel More Passion is the last thing this present government needs. This current situation is shameful.” [The Guardian and Instagram]