Your Weekly Art News from the Margins to the Headlines (April 2 – 9)

Your Weekly Art News is a digest of the most important developments coming out of the art world from markets, finance, upcoming shows, exhibitions, and scandals. Here’s what you need to know this Monday, April 2nd. 

  • Without warning, a beloved Brancusi Sculpture at the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris is boxed up. As per Joseph Nechvatal in Hyperallergic

Brancusi’s “The Kiss” has stood atop Tatiana Rachewskaïa’s tomb for more than a century, but six months ago it was covered up and its future remains a mystery.

The Cimetière du Montparnasse is at risk of losing one of two of its most distinctive occupants. A famous Constantin Brancusi sculpture of a couple embracing, “Le Baiser” (“The Kiss,” 1909), has crowned Tatiana Rachewskaïa’s tomb for more than a century. Rachewskaïa, a young Russian student, committed love-tortured suicide in 1910; her lover, a Romanian doctor named Solomon Marbais, was a friend of Brancusi’s and purchased the sculpture directly from the artist to place on Rachewskaïa’s grave. It has been on view just inside the cemetery’s Rue Émile-Richard entrance since the very end of 1910 or early 1911. But, for at least six months now, the sculpture has been covered up and mysteriously concealed from public view.

Constantin Brancusi’s “Le Baiser” (“The Kiss,” 1909) before and after its boxing (all photos by the author unless indicated otherwise)

  • Jeff Koons can’t seem to catch a break. Even a donation check Koons gave to Amnesty International was just rejected last week. “I don’t understand why literally nobody wants my presents,” Koons said. Ouch. Though the reason remains unclear, sources close to artnet News said that the organization “buckled under the weight of numerous open letters.”

Rendering of Jeff Koons Bouquet of Tulips (2016). ©Jeff Koons. Courtesy Noirmontartproduction.

  • “We’re kind of suffering,” midsize galleries say after Art Basel Hong Kong. As per artnews Net:

Smaller galleries say they will continue to take an economic hit to participate in the fair because they consider it an important investment in their artists’ futures.

Other galleries, however, are feeling the squeeze of the steep costs of participation.

“The competition is very big, considering there are 248 galleries, and there are a lot of big sharks—international sharks, Chinese sharks, local sharks,” said Ferdie Ju of Shanghai’s Gallery 55, taking note of the inordinate attention—and profits—claimed by top blue-chip galleries. He says he sold a few smaller works out of his solo presentation of Chinese artist Yu Aijun, who makes wild swarms of black oil on recycled blueprints. But his gallery will, as it has every year for the last three years, take a loss at the fair.

Zheng Chongbin’s Cluster No. 2 (2017), which sold at the Ink Studio booth for $84,000. © Art Basel

I was mobile and hostile with a smile on my face […[ “I’m not normal in a lot of ways,” Wood admits. “One time, I took all my clothes off and jumped naked into this basketball player’s pool. He was a star, a basketball star in New York. I’m a little bit rebellious or something. I don’t like being told what to do. I’m suspicious of mobs. I don’t like groups. I don’t like people with authority trying to tell me that they have a good idea, that I should put on a uniform and run at that bunker. You know what I mean?”

Diane Arbus, “Child with a toy hand grenade in NYC’s Central Park,” 1962.

  • In Bulgaria, the philosopher Julia Kristeva has been accused of working as a secret agent for the nation’s Communist-era security apparatus. The commission, which has yet to publish its findings in detail, claims that the renowned philosopher and psychoanalyst served under the codename “Sabina.”

 

  • The Art Newspaper’s annual survey ranking the world’s most attended museums and exhibitions came out last week. It’s no surprise that the Louvre remains the most attended museum, while they point out that one way for museum’s to increase attendance is to invite DJs. The survey also revealed that the most popular exhibition in the world last year was a massive display of ancient Buddhist sculptures at Tokyo National Museum

Tokyo National Museum hosted 2017’s most popular exhibition, according to an annual report published by The Art Newspaper. (photo by Wiiii, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

  • New York City cultural workers and artists sign petition supporting the parole of Herman Bell, a former Black Panther Party member convicted of killing two police officers in 1971. 

 

  • Finally, a year-long project restoring the Church of Santa Felicita’s Capponi Chapel was completed. Originally designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the restoration project was funded by the non-profit organization Friends of Florence. 

Pontormo’s “Deposition from the Cross” (1528) post restoration (courtesy Friends of Florence)

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