Orlando Museum of Art Sues Ousted Director, SFMOMA Hikes Ticket Price, and More: Morning Links for August 16, 2023

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The Headlines

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A NEW LEGAL FRONT. In the New York TimesBrett Sokol and Matt Stevens report that the Orlando Museum of Art has slapped its former (ousted) director, Aaron De Groft, with a lawsuit alleging he had worked out a deal to pocket a cut if disputed Jean-Michel Basquiats shown at the museum in 2022 found buyers. The F.B.I. has been investigating those works, and an auctioneer admitted in a plea deal earlier this year that he actually helped to create the possible forgeries. De Groft and the owners of the so-called Basquiats, who were also named in the suit, have denied wrongdoing and maintain that the pieces are real. The former OMA leader told the Times that he had only talked to the owners about steering a gift to the museum. The OMA has not yet specified damages it is seeking for what it says amounted to fraud, conspiracy, and more.

THE NEW NORMAL. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is joining the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the $30 ticket clubSam Whiting reports in Datebook, hiking its general admission price from $25. That price had been in effect since the unveiling of its 2016 expansion. Those between 19 and 24 will have to pay $23, and seniors $25. Visitors under 18 are free. The new pricing structure takes effect on October 14, the day SFMOMA opens a major Yayoi Kusama show. That said, you can pay $30 now by selecting the ticket that also offers access to Ragnar Kjartansson’s video masterpiece The Visitors (2012).

The Digest

Philanthropist Joan Kaplan Davidson, a former chairwoman of the New York State Council on the Arts who helped start Westbeth Artists Housing in Manhattan while working at the National Endowment for the Arts, died on Friday at 96. [The New York Times]

It took a year of negotiations, but more than 500 workers at the Art Institute of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have approved a contract that will see them get raises between 12.25 and 16.25 percent. The minimum wage there will now be $17 an hour. [The Art Newspaper]

Mitra Abbaspour was named curator of modern and contemporary art at the Harvard Art Museums. She is coming from the Princeton University Art Museum, where she holds the same title. At Harvard, she will also oversee that department, whose purview—fun fact—is art from 1901 to the present. [The Harvard Gazette]

Artist and art dealer John Riepenhoff, who co-owns the Green Gallery in Milwaukee, was named executive director of Sculpture Milwaukee, the annual outdoor art show in Cream City. He is also the curator of its current edition, which runs through next October. [Press Release]

A retired political science professor, Lawrence Gray, 79, was arraigned in Manhattan on charges that he stole luxurious jewelry while moving in the upper echelons of East Coast society, selling some through a Manhattan auction house. “He didn’t do it,” his lawyer said. [New York Post]

Claire Armitstead penned an essay about hidden, “deliberately obscure” art. It “isn’t sellable or even necessarily classifiable as art, but it has an energy and an integrity that touch you if you’re lucky enough to find it,” Armitstead writes. [The Guardian]

The Kicker

TOURISTS BEHAVING BADLY. A video is making the rounds that shows a woman climbing onto Rome’s beloved Trevi Fountain and . . . wait for it . . .  filling up a water bottle, Insider reports. The video was shot last month, and it is not clear what became of her after being confronted by a guard. The viral footage comes after a spate of incidents in Italy that have seen people behaving inappropriately at important monuments—carving into the stone of the Colosseum, for instance. When a man swam in the Trevi Fountain last month, a city official declared it “pure barbarism.” [Insider]

Source: artnews.com

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