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The five art world updates you should know this week. Weekly post from ArtList, the online marketplace for private sales.
1. Paris’ Museums Reopen to the Public
Yesterday at noon, after a weekend of closure and a minute of silence to honor the victims of Friday’s terrorist attacks, Paris’ museums reopened to the public. Renown institutions such as the Musée de Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Grand Palais, Musée du Luxembourg, and the Palais de Tokyo. France’s cultural minister Fleur Pellerin explained the importance of the reopening of France’s cultural institutions: “These attacks targeted places of entertainment, togetherness and leisure. I call on everyone to show unity and solidarity. It is the best response that the Republic, the Ministry of Culture and Communication and its agents can bring to those who threaten us.”
2. Marina Abramović Faces Lawsuit from Former Lover
It seems that all may not be fair in love and war for Marina Abramović. The world’s most famous performance artist is being sued by her former lover and collaborator, German artist Ulay, in a dispute over the ownership of artworks they produced during their time together. Ulay and Abramović were partners and co-creators for more than a decade, before separating in 1988. Now, in a lawsuit that will be heard in Amsterdam later this month, Ulay alleges that Abramović has violated a contract they signed in 1999 by requesting that galleries list her as the sole creator of their joint works and failing to appropriately pay and report accurate sales statements to Ulay. He explained to the Guardian, “She is not just a former business partner. The whole oeuvre has made history. It’s now in school books. But she has deliberately misinterpreted things, or left my name out.”
3. Francis Bacon’s First Complete Catalogue Raisonné to Be Released
The Francis Bacon Estate is in the final stages of a decade-long project to catalogue all works the British artist created. The project will include all of Bacon’s known works in addition to works, such as the first of his Screaming Popes series, that were previously unknown or part of private collections. The catalogue presents a challenge for the estate, as Bacon destroyed many of his paintings and roughly half of his 584 surviving works are accessible or in circulation. Yet, as art historian martin Harrison, who has devoted much of the last decade to locating Bacon’s pieces, explains, it is an effort with great impact: “The stuff that has been written about Bacon, some good and much of it less good, is based on about a third of his work.” The new catalogue will open up the literature about and understanding of Bacon’s career. The catalogue rasionné will be released in April, coinciding with the anniversary of Bacon’s death in 1992.
4. Italian Mayor Reacts to Modigliani’s Record-Setting Sale
Not everyone is thrilled about last week’s record-setting Modigliani sale. The Italian painter’s Nu couché sold last week to Chinese collector Liu Yiqian for $170 million, making it the second most expensive piece ever sold at auction. However, Filippo Nogarin, the mayor of Modigliani’s Italian hometown of Livorno, lamented the acquisition of the piece by a private collection: “I am displeased that it went to a private person because I think it should have been given to a museum so that it could be seen by everyone,” he told the the Guardian. “Its beauty could have affected many people and now that may not happen.” However, Yiqian and his wife, who were among a large amount of Asian art collectors bidding for the piece, often display their collections at public institutions across Asia. So Modigliani’s now historic nude will definitely be seen by public eyes again.
5. The Most Inaccesible Exhibition on Earth is Also Radioactive
This week, The Guardian went inside possibly the most remote art exhibition on Earth. The show, “Don’t Follow the Wind,” a collaboration between 12 Japanese and foreign artists on the evacuated site of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown. The show highlights its own inaccessibility with its “non-visitor center” and its lack of a exhibition catalogue. “By it’s very nature, this will be a long exhibition, and the artworks will change over time. We didn’t think having a catalogue of photographs would do it justice,” explained participating artist Ryuta. Ultimately, the show seeks to highlight the division imposed between Fukushima habitants and their homes during one of the greatest nuclear disasters in history. “People will only be able to access the works when the venue itself is livable again and homeowners can return,” said Franco Mattes, a curator and contributor to the exhibit.
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