• France’s Cour de Cassation. Photo: Wikipedia.

    Members of Art-Dealing Wildenstein Family Face Retrial in French Court

    Members of the Wildenstein family, possessors of one of the world’s largest collection of Old Masters, have been ordered by France’s highest court to face a retrial after being acquitted of tax fraud in 2018. The new trial will mark the third time the case against French American art dealer Guy Wildenstein; his nephew Alec Wildenstein, Jr.; and Liouba Soupakova, widow of Guy’s brother Alec Wildenstein—collectively referred to in the French press as “les W”—has come before the courts. Also being tried are a notary, a lawyer, and two trust-fund managers.

    The defendants were first tried on charges

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  • Amanda Coulson. Blair Meadows.

    Amanda Coulson Departs National Art Gallery of the Bahamas to Lead New TERN Gallery

    Amanda Coulson is stepping down from her post as executive director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas to take up the role of founding director of TERN Gallery, a new space in Nassau, Bahamas, dedicated to showcasing and elevating the work of young and emerging Bahamian and Caribbean artists, and to bringing the region’s art scene to greater international prominence.

    Before coming to the National Gallery of the Bahamas as director in 2011, Coulson, who holds a masters in fine arts from New York University, cofounded the VOLTA Art Fair. The event, taking place annually, in New York and

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  • Kim Tschang-Yeul.

    Kim Tschang-Yeul (1929–2021)

    Korean artist Kim Tschang-Yeul, who was widely known for his “water drop” paintings, which he characterized as a way of erasing his ego, died January 5 at the age of ninety-one. Along with Nam June Paik and Lee Ufan, Kim was one of Korea’s most influential artists of the past century.

    Born in 1929 in Maengsan, in what would come to be North Korea, Kim in 1945 moved south, where he studied under Lee Kwae-dae, eventually enrolling in the art program at Seoul National University. Following the interruption of the Korean War (1950–53), Kim, with Park Seo-Bo, Suh Se-Ok, Ha Chong-Hyun, and Chung

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  • Diego Rivera’s The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City, 1931, at the San Francisco Art Institute. Photo: Jay Galvin/Flickr.

    San Francisco Art Institute Explores Controversial Sale of Diego Rivera Mural

    The beleaguered San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is contemplating the sale of its iconic 1931 Diego Rivera mural, The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City, in order to supplement its endowment, which was alleged to stand at just $10 million in June. Reported to have expressed interest in the $50 million mural is Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas, who is said to want the work for his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, currently under construction in Los Angeles.

    SFAI, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious art schools, has struggled to stay open since March, when, already faced

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  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Five Philadelphia Museums to Reopen This Month

    Five Philadelphia museums jointly detailed plans to reopen following a temporary city-mandated closure, caused by the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, extending from November 20 to January 5, when it was announced that the closure order was lifted for some industries, including museums. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art will reopen in January, with additional health and safety protocols in place to protect staff and visitors.

    The Franklin Institute,

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  • Gagosian San Francisco. Photo: Gagosian/M-PROJECTS.

    Gagosian Takes over Former Marciano Museum, Closes San Francisco Gallery

    Megagallery Gagosian has closed its San Francisco outpost after just four years and is instead seeking to elevate its profile in Los Angeles, where it recently struck a deal to occupy space in the former Marciano Museum, where it is to begin programming early this year. The addition complements its established Beverly Hills outpost. “To consolidate and strengthen Gagosian’s presence in California, we are concentrating our efforts based in Los Angeles, for the time being,” said the gallery in a statement.

    Gagosian's Bay Area gallery, which opened in 2016 on Howard Street across from the newly

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  • Laila Alfaddagh.

    Laila Alfaddagh Named Director of Saudi Arabia’s National Museum

    The board of trustees of Saudi Arabia’s National Museum has appointed Laila Alfaddagh director general of the institution. In her new role, Alfaddagh will be tasked with raising the museum’s profile, elevating its offerings, and upgrading visitors’ experience.

    Alfaddagh, who holds a master’s degree in international studies from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, was from 2010 to 2017 secretary of the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra. On being named head of museums and exhibits at the center, which is Saudi Aramco’s corporate social responsibility project, in May

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  • Thomas Ball’s Emancipation Group in Park Square, Boston. Photo: New York Public Square.

    Statue of Lincoln and Formerly Enslaved Man Removed From Boston’s Park Square

    After a petition initiated by artist Tory Bullock calling for Thomas Ball’s Emancipation Group to be replaced garnered more than twelve thousand signatures, city authorities removed the monument from Boston’s Park Square, where it has stood since 1879. The original sculpture from which it was recast, Ball’s 1876 Freedmen’s Memorial still stands in Washington, DC’s Lincoln Park, where, like the Lincoln Monument itself, it remains a topic of debate.

    The bronze statue, which depicts a scantily-clad Black man in broken shackles seeming to rise from kneeling before a fully dressed and standing Abraham

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  • Pierre Cardin, 1992. Photo: Claude Iverné.

    Pierre Cardin (1922–2020)

    Pierre Cardin, the French-Italian fashion designer whose futuristic clothes shaped the mod aesthetic of the 1960s and influenced generations of designers, died today at the age of ninety-eight in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. His death was reported by the French Academy of Fine Arts.

    Known for his sleek, architectural designs worn by celebrities from Jackie Kennedy to the Beatles, Cardin was also an astute businessman, bringing to the general public via mass production designs typically reserved for the rarefied world of haute couture, and licensing his name to products from perfume to pickles,

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  • David Medalla. Photo: Tate.

    David Medalla (1938–2020)

    Filipino artist David Medalla, who fascinated viewers with his soap-bubble-spewing “Cloud Canyon” sculptures of 1963–2011, and who in 1964 cofounded the influential London gallery Signals, has died at the age of eighty-two. His death in Manila was announced by his partner and longtime collaborator curator, Adam Nankervis. A self-described “poet who celebrates physics,” Medalla produced pioneering works of kinetic art, and in the past decade came to be recognized for his exemplary contributions to the fields of installation and participatory art.

    Born in Manila in 1938, Medalla made local headlines

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  • Zdenka Badovinac.

    Zdenka Badovinac Fired From Moderna Galerija by New Slovenian Government

    Zdenka Badovinac was forced by Slovenia’s new right-wing government from her post as director of Ljubljana’s Moderna Galerija, a position held since 1993. The removal, announced in November and effective December 24, reflects an attempt on the part of the government, formed in March of this year, to implement a more conservative and nationalistic culture.

    Badovinac is widely known for spearheading the development of Moderna Galerija, the region’s most prominent, and arguably most progressive, museum. Christened “the house that Zdenka built” by the late Okwui Enwezor, Moderna Galerija under

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  • “Blue” Gene Tyranny.

    “Blue” Gene Tyranny (1945–2020)

    The composer and pianist Robert Sheff, better known as “Blue” Gene Tyranny—whose collaborations with the likes of Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley, Carla Bley, and Iggy Pop placed him at the center of the avant-garde’s entanglement with pop music—died of complications from diabetes on December 12 in Long Island City, Queens, where he lived for the last two decades. Announcing his passing on Instagram, the record label Unseen Worlds called Tyranny “a shining enigma of generosity and brilliance, so gifted musically that he was able to live his life in music.”

    Born Joseph Gantic in San Antonio, Tyranny

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