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THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE. After a whirlwind opening week, the Venice Biennale named the winners of its prizes. In a first, both of its highest honors went to Black women, Alex Greenberger reports. Sonia Boyce, who was representing Great Britain with a video installation that channels and celebrates the work of Black female musicians, took home the Golden Lion for best national pavilion, while Simone Leigh garnered the Golden Lion for the best contribution to the event’s main show, “The Milk of Dreams.” The jury praised Leigh’s soaring 2019 sculpture Brick House, which previously graced the High Line in New York, as “rigorously researched, virtuosically realized, and powerfully persuasive.” The Silver Lion, for a “promising young artist” in the central show, went to Ali Cherri. For more on the prizes—including the special mentions presented by the jury— head to ARTnews.
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ART AND POLITICS. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, aka UNESCO, said that it is postponing a meeting of its World Heritage Committee that had been scheduled for June in Kazan, Russia, the Art Newspaper reports. The proposal to postpone came from Russia’s ambassador to the group, according to the AFP. Some international officials had been calling for the meeting to be relocated due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, TAN reports, Russian artist Oleg Kulik was questioned by law enforcement officials about his statue Big Mother (2015), after lawmakers claimed that it mocked a statue honoring the Battle of Stalingrad, a potential offense. Kulik, who is perhaps best known for acting remarkably like a dog in a series of performances, said that was not his intention in the piece, and that if he knew it would be seen that way “I would not even have started it.”
With Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reducing the amount of income that Saudi royals receive, some are selling prized assets, including real-estate holdings, jewels, and artworks. [The Wall Street Journal]
Iraq’s Ministry of Culture is currently hosting an exhibition of about 100 works of contemporary art by artists from the country. A number of the pieces were recovered abroad after the pillaging of museums during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country. [AFP/France24]
The Museum of Modern Art in New York is planning a major survey of the work of German Expressionist Käthe Kollwitz, and recently acquired a lithograph jointly with Manhattan’s Neue Galerie. The circa 1904 self-portrait it is now on view in a permanent-collection gallery at MoMA. [The Art Newspaper]
Speaking of prints, “unseen etchings that Lucian Freud rejected or reworked are to be published for the first time as part of a definitive study that will document every print he ever created,” Dalya Alberge reports. The catalogue raisonné, from Modern Art Press, comes out next month. [The Guardian]
Artist Gary Simmons, who currently has a show at Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles, sat for an interview with Leigh-Ann Jackson. “The work forces you to go down certain parts of memory lane,” he said of his partially erased chalkboard drawings. “It nudges you into rethinking how certain images came into your life.” [Los Angeles Times]
A LIFE-CHANGING EDUCATION. At the New York Academy of Art’s Tribeca Ball last week, artist Kenny Scharf was the guest of honor, and was toasted by the school’s chairwoman, Eileen Guggenheim, as an “artist who created his own scene,” John Ortved reports in the New York Times. It turns out that Guggenheim and Scharf go back a long way: She was one of his teachers at the University of California, Santa Barbara , before he decided to decamp to New York. Prior to taking her class, the artist said, he wanted only to study the “three B’s: bongs, beers, and babes.” [NYT]