Robert E. Lee Monument to Be Melted Down, White House Addresses Art Market, and More: Morning Links from December 8, 2021

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The Headlines

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TO PRESERVE OR NOT TO PRESERVE. That is the question that has frequently come up during conversations about Confederate monuments that have been removed. A Robert E. Lee monument that was taken down in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past summer won’t quite be kept in its original form, the Washington Post reports. Instead, it’ll be melted down and turned into another artwork by the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, a local Black-led museum. Meanwhile, a monument of a very different sort has been set up at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, per New York Times: a temporary installation intended to allow the community to process of the grief of losing Black girls and women like Breonna TaylorLatosha Harlins, and others to police violence. The work is being presented as part of an Andrea Bowers survey.

A GIANT, LOST. As ARTnews reported yesterday, critic Greg Tate, who was known for his writing on hip-hop and related artistic styles, has died at 64. Few critics have proven quite as influential as Tate in recent years, and the tributes to him came swiftly on social media. Critic Hua Hsu, who addressed Tate’s writings in the New Yorker in 2016, said on Twitter that Tate was “impossible to mimic.” Artist Arthur Jafa wrote on Instagram that Tate was the “absolute love of [his] life.” The musician Questlove praised Tate as his “North Star” in a Facebook post. Expect the words of praise to keep flowing in.

The Digest

In a new report titled “Strategy on Countering Corruption,” the White House said that the art market was “especially vulnerable to a range of financial crimes,” and placed the blame on “built-in opacity” and the ease of transporting goods across boarders. [New York Post]

The extensive collection of late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has begun to sell at Sotheby’s. In the first of two auctions, various artworks and design items—including a Takashi Murakami portrait of Lagerfeld—sold for $13.8 million. [Artnet News]

Desert X has officially plotted its second edition in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla desert for February of next year. It will take the theme “Sarab” and will explore the notions of “mirage and oasis.” [The Art Newspaper]

The latest outing at New York’s Tina Kim Gallery is a three-person show featuring works by Leo AminoMinoru Niizuma, and John Pai, all of whom were influential teachers but little-known as artists. The gallery’s founder described the show as “so overdue.” [The Guardian]

New York Times critics Roberta Smith and Holland Cotter shared their favorite art exhibitions of the year, including a Jasper Johns retrospective that spanned two institutions and presentations that qualify under what Cotter labeled “unusual business in museums.” [The New York Times]

The Kicker

“ART SUCKS.” That’s the latest pronouncement from artist Jamian Juliano-Villani, who’s known for her outré paintings featuring mash-ups of seemingly unlike figures and objects. Her latest project isn’t a painting series but a New York gallery, O’Flaherty’s, and the Cut has a profile of the space. How, you ask, does an artist who describes herself as “broke and not broke” fund a gallery? Juliano-Villani is mostly ponying up all the money herself using sales of her art. So far, the gambit is paying off: Maurizio Cattelan and Hans Ulrich Obrist have stopped by.


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