The van Gogh Industrial Complex Grows, Metro Pictures to Close, and More: Morning Links from March 8, 2021

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The Headlines

AFTER MORE THAN FOUR DECADES IN BUSINESS, the influential New York gallery Metro Pictures said that it will close its doors at the end of the year, Sarah Douglas reports in ARTnews. The gallery’s founders, Janelle Reiring and Helene Winer, said in a statement, “We are extremely grateful to all of the brilliant artists we have worked with over the past 40 years and to our excellent staff, who have sustained the gallery and its program.” Those artists included canonical Pictures Generation members like Cindy ShermanRobert Longo, and Louise Lawler, as well as closely watched figures like Camille HenrotB. Wurtz, and Isaac Julien. The gallery, which also showed Mike KelleyMartin Kippenberger, and Jack Goldstein during its long run, “maintained a combination of critical and business success that few can equal,” New York Times co-chief critic Roberta Smith said. It’s a “very sad shock,” New York magazine senior critic Jerry Saltz said. The gallery announced that it will soon release a final exhibition schedule.

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WHAT IS AI WEIWEI UP TO, YOU’RE WONDERING? The artist is living on an estate outside Lisbon, Reuters reports, and he is working on a monument to the transformational Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. “To this day we don’t see anyone like Gorbachev in China,” Ai said, hailing him as “one of the most important thinkers, visionaries, who helped establish a new possibility for society.” The former president just turned 90, and Russian opinion of his legacy was  divided in a recent poll, the Associated Press reports. Ai is working with the Cinema for Peace foundation on the monument, which will be displayed in the center of Berlin.

The Digest

Amy Sherald’s portrait of Breonna Taylor is set to be acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, for $1 million. The funds will come from the Ford Foundation and the Hearthland Foundation, and will go toward a new program that Sherald is starting to “support students pursuing higher education who have an interest in social justice,” Robin Pogrebin writes. The foundations are providing guidance on the new project.   [The New York Times]

An 1887 Camille Pissarro gouache that was restituted in 2018 to the heirs of the collector from whom it was seized during World War II will be offered this month at Sotheby’s in Paris with a high estimate of about $2.1 million. [ARTnews]

Two pieces of 16th-century Italian armor that were stolen from the Louvre in Paris in 1983 have been recovered. [The New York Times]

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld’s collection of art and design will hit the block at Sotheby’s in Monaco in the second half of the year. There are no details as of yet about precisely what will be sold. [WWD]

Toko Shinoda, a Japanese calligraphy artist who won worldwide renown for her adventurous compositions, died last week at the age of 107. “It is a rare artist whose modernism is rooted in tradition without compromise in either direction,” New York Times art critic John Canaday once wrote. [The Washington Post]

The main hall of Naejang, a Buddhist temple in South Korea that traces its roots back centuries, was destroyed in a fire. Arson is suspected. [Korea Herald]

It appears that a settlement has been reached between the late artist Robert Indiana’s estate and a New York copyright holder in a suit that alleges that the artist’s caretaker took advantage of him to produce artworks. [Associated Press/Bangor Daily News]

Art historian Naomi Rosenblum, who wrote seminal books on photography that aimed to focus on the medium’s global development, and that highlighted the work of women, has died at the age of 96. As a curator, her credits include organizing exhibitions of Paul Strand and Lewis W. Hine (the latter with her husband, Walter Rosenblum, who died in 2006). [The New York Times]

The South Korean artist Lee Bul is the subject of a retrospective at the Seoul Museum of Art. In a profile, she discussed her trailblazing career and her working habits. “I start my day with a cup of coffee and some cigarettes,” she said. “I then head to my studio, where I spend the rest of my day. I get into bed around 4 a.m.” [Hong Kong Tatler]

The Kicker

IT IS NOT YOUR IMAGINATION. THERE REALLY ARE A BEWILDERING NUMBER of immersive multimedia exhibitions focused on Vincent van Gogh all over the United States right now, the New York Times reports. Via reporter Christina Morales, here’s a list: “Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibition, Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit,” “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience,” and “Beyond Van Gogh.” Not surprisingly, this has led to some confusion among ticket buyers! “In a world of competition, of course, people will try to replicate,” said the brains behind one long-running exhibition. “It’s flattering.” Why’s van Gogh so popular for these high-tech affairs? Singer and songwriter Jonathan Richman long ago suggested one theory: “He loved life so bad/His paintings had twice the color other paintings had.” [The New York Times]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.


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