Parthenon Marbles Deal May Be Close, MoMA Nabs New Investments Chief, and More: Morning Links for January 4, 2023

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The Headlines

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MORE WHISPERS. Last month, there were reports in the Greek press that the British Museum and Athens were in secret talks over the Parthenon Marbles. Now Bloomberg says that the two parties are “closing in on an agreement” that would see the contested antiquities make their way back to their homeland. How might that deal look? It could “see a proportion of the marbles sent to Athens on rotation over several years,” Alberto Nardelli and Alex Wickham write. Greece would loan other works to the London institution, and plaster copies might be placed on view there, too. By law, the museum cannot deaccession the works, but this rotation scheme could be a workaround. The recently minted deal that will see 161 Cycladic items returned to Greece from a U.S. collection over many years is said to be a possible model. Watch this space.

COLLECTOR AARON LEVINE, who built an esteemed collection of conceptual art with his wife, Barbarahas died at 88Maximilíano Durón reports in ARTnews. The Levines made key gifts to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., including almost three dozen pieces by Marcel Duchamp. In a statement, the Hirshhorn said that the pair “transformed the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection by sharing their twinned passion.” The couple—who appeared on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list for many years—collected for more than three decades, buying a wide range of artists, including Gerhard Richter and Cindy Sherman. A trial lawyer by trade, Aaron once said that Duchamp “redefined art for me. It took it out of the retina and put it in the brain.”

The Digest

Milly Thompson, a member of the the storied British art collective BANK, who was also a painter and a teacher, has died. BANK’s many activities included marking up press releases with unsparing critiques and then faxing them back to the galleries that had sent them. [ArtReview]

The alleged mastermind of the attempted theft of a Banksy mural in Ukraine in December faces 12 years in prison, according to officials. Police arrested eight in connection with the case in the town of Hostomel, just outside Kyiv. [CNN]

The Museum of Modern Art has hired New York University’s managing director of investments, Lou Fernandes, to be its chief investment officer. He will oversee a fund that was valued at $1.48 billion as of June 30. [Institutional Investor]

Late last year, a curator at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf, Germany, announced that a Piet Mondrian abstraction in its collection had long been displayed upside down. It was hardly the first time that had happened with an artwork; journalist Martin Bailey has a guide to four other such cases. [The Art Newspaper]

Archaeologists in northern Israel have completed excavations of a 1,500-year-old cathedral that was first dug up in the early 1950s. Discoveries at the site provide clues to how baptism may have functioned in early Christianity. [Haaretz]

Old Lyme, Connecticut’s Florence Griswold Museum, which is rich in American Impressionism, has hired Joshua Torrance to be its executive director. He’s coming from the Webb Deane Stevens Museum, which is about 40 minutes away in Wethersfield. [CT Examiner]

The Kicker

THE COLOR OF MONEY. Last month, Argentina reported year-over-year inflation of 92.4 percent. As the value of its peso has been decreasing, an artist in the city of Salta, Sergio Guillermo Diaz, has been painting atop its banknotes—and making fairly wondrous pictures, judging by the photos in a Reuters story about him. “Nowadays it makes sense for me to paint on the largest denominated bill here in Argentina,” the artist told the outlet. “Once I paint on it, I can sell it for much more than what the bill is worth.” Regrettably, that largest note is the 1,000-peso bill, which is now worth, at most, $5.60. [Reuters]


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