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IMMERSIVE DIGITAL VAN GOGH SHOWS HAVE OPENED in seemingly every city on the planet, but now a major new exhibition of his actual art is on the calendar. The Courtauld Gallery in London said that, on February 3, it will open an exhibition of around 15 of his highly prized self-portraits—a remarkable feat of curatorial and logistical work. “Van Gogh exhibitions are notoriously difficult to do because his works are so in demand,” as the show’s curator, Karen Serres, told the Art Newspaper. (The cost of insuring and transporting such high-value pieces is also no small matter.) After a four-year closure for renovations, the Courtauld will reopen in November. The van Gogh affair will be held in new galleries named for a donor, billionaire gambling entrepreneur Denise Coates, the Times of London notes. The show runs through May 8, 2022.
EVERYTHING IS COMING PICASSO! Just days ago, Greek police recovered a stolen painting by the artist. Now a piece attributed to him, which had apparently been sitting in a closet in a Maine house, has hammered for $150,000 at John McInnis Auctioneers in Amesbury, Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reports. The 1919 work measures 16 inches on each side and has been described as a painted maquette for a stage curtain that the artist designed for the Le Tricorne ballet, choreographed by Léonide Massine . The curtain is currently housed at the New-York Historical Society (which, in other big news, is planning an expansion that will include space for the American L.G.B.T.Q.+ Museum). The anonymous seller said in a statement quoted by the Associated Press that the house had passed through family members to them, and that there were “several paintings kept in a closet for 50 years.” The buyer has 120 days to authenticate it with Claude Picasso Administration before finishing the transaction.
Denzil Hurley, an artist of great invention, who made work with shaped canvases and linens, as well as combinations of multiple panels and wooden sticks, has died. Born in 1949 in Barbados, he was based in Seattle and had shows at the Seattle Art Museum, the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, and elsewhere. [Canada Gallery E-Mail]
France and Mexico signed an agreement to cooperate on fighting the trafficking of artifacts. Details of the arrangement were not immediately released. [Associated Press]
Officials are restarting the selection process for the curator of the South Korean pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale, following allegations that a juror had a conflict of interest because they work in the same organization as two of the finalists for the job. [The Korea Times]
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts curator Valerie Cassel Oliver spoke with ARTnews about her new show, “The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse,” which looks at the foundational role that African American art played in the development of modernism and pop culture in America. Asked Oliver, “If you have blues or jazz as the American original art form, what is the visual equivalent to that?” [ARTnews Live]
Artist Marta Minujin was a star of Documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany, in 2017, for her gigantic Parthenon of Books, made with some 100,000 volumes. Now she has created a 138-foot-long sculpture with the (self-explanatory) title Big Ben Lying Down With Political Books for the Manchester International Festival. It looks great! [BBC News]
Rochelle Steiner has quit as chief curator and director of curatorial affairs and programs at the Palm Springs Art Museum in California. Last week, Adam Lerner was tapped to be the museum’s new director. Steiner had been with the institution since 2019. [The Desert Sun]
The Pageant of the Masters—the annual showcase of tableaux vivants in Laguna Beach, California—has reopened after being shuttered last year because of the pandemic. Here is a peek behind the scenes. [11 ABC]
PRINCES WILLIAM AND HARRY UNVEILED A STATUE of their late mother, Princess Diana, at Kensington Palace in London on Thursday. The piece, with Diana flanked by young children, was created by the artist Ian Rank-Broadley (People has a primer for the uninitiated). Critic Jonathan Jones was quick to weigh in in the Guardian: Thumbs down. Jones likens it to “an uncontrolled wail of artistically absurd pathos,” describes it as “a spiritless and characterless hunk of nonsense,” and says that it “shamelessly plays up to the most mawkish aspects of Diana worship.” OK, we get it!
Thank you for reading. We’ll see you on Monday.