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CONTINGENCY PLANS. The National Palace Museum in Taiwan recently staged its first “wartime response exercise,” readying staff for what to do in the event that China invades the island, CNN reports. While the treasure-filled Taipei institution did not going into detail about how and where it plans to move its holdings in the case of military conflict, it did say that it will focus on safeguarding some 90,000 of the 700,000 items it manages, with an emphasis on high-value and portable material. Many of those pieces were brought to Taiwan from Beijing’s Palace Museum in 1949 by the Chinese Nationalist Party, when it retreated amid the civil war with the Chinese Communist Party. “Whether we need to evacuate the artifacts is subject to the commander-in-chief if there is a war,” museum officials said in a statement.
THE ART OF DIPLOMACY. In comments to the Sunday Times Culture magazine, the British Museum’s deputy director, Jonathan Williams, proposed what he termed a “Parthenon partnership” with Greece, saying that his institution wants to “change the temperature of the debate” over the contested Elgin Marbles. Williams did not call for those marbles to be returned to Athens, but the director of the Acropolis Museum there, Nikolaos Stampolidis, told the Associated Press that there may be a “basis for constructive talks.” If the Elgin Marbles were to be sent back to Greece, it “would be as if the British were restoring democracy itself,” Stampolidis said.
The English-born Irish artist and illustrator Pauline Bewick, who created lively, fantasy-infused landscapes and portraits of people and animals, has died at 86. In a statement, Ireland’s president, Michael D. Higgins, praised her “commitment to always following her own path, reflecting on the world in her own unique way.” [RTE and Independent.ie]
Doreen Adengo, an acclaimed architect who founded Adengo Architecture in Kampala, Uganda, died at 45 after a long illness. Adengo taught at the New School and the Pratt Institute in New York, and was a conservation architect at the Uganda Museum. [Dezeen]
Images that Dutch photographer Herman Heukels shot in 1943 of Jewish people in Amsterdam being sent to concentration camps are widely published, but until recently, his Nazi Party membership was not well known. A new book and a new Holocaust memorial in the city are changing that. [The New York Times]
Collector and businessman Abhishek Poddar, the founder of the new Museum of Art and Photography in Bangalore, which is the first major private art museum in South India, got the profile treatment from journalist Enid Tsui. He became immersed in art while at the Doon School (which is known as “India’s Eton”), interviewing artists for a school magazine. [South China Morning Post]
In an essay, writer and curator Rijin Sahakian criticized the Berlin Biennale for including of an installation by artist Jean-Jacques Lebel with enlargements of the Abu Ghraib torture photographs. Sahakian writes that “the Biennale made the decision to commodify photos of unlawfully imprisoned and brutalized Iraqi bodies under occupation, displaying them without the consent of the victims and without any input from the Biennale’s participating Iraqi artists, whose work was adjacently installed without their knowledge.” [Artforum]
Digital artist Federico Clapis came forward on Twitter to claim that they are the anonymous NFT artist known as Pak. [The Crypto Times]
IRREPLACEABLE. Last year, Beyoncé and her husband, Jay-Z, appeared in a Tiffany ad alongside a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting. Jay-Z has also name-checked the artist in his work, perhaps most notably on 2013’s “Picasso Baby” (“Yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner”). And now, this past Friday, Beyoncé released her latest album, Renaissance, and it has not only an art-historically rich cover, but also a line that references that storied figure. It’s on the hypnotic “I’m That Girl,” and has the singer “knocking Basquiats off the wall.” [Oprah Daily]