Cruises Return to Venice, Art Basel Details Swiss Fair Rules, and More: Morning Links from June 4, 2021

Cruises Return to Venice, Art Basel Details Swiss Fair Rules, and More: Morning Links from June 4, 2021

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The Headlines

NATURE IS HEALING. On Thursday, the nearly 100,000-ton MSC Orchestra sailed into Venicethe first cruise ship to do so since pandemic’s start, the Associated Press reports. Though Italy passed a decree aimed at barring massive ships from the city’s historical center, there is apparently no other easy alternative for the moment. An Italian ministry told the AP that a bidding process will begin “any day now” for a docking area outside the lagoon. In 2022, some ships will be able to venture to a nearby port in the lagoon. Meanwhile, Art Basel confirmed in a letter to VIPs that its Swiss fair is a go in September, its first outing since June 2019, Artnet News reports. Covid safety protocols will be in place—including a 20 percent reduction in capacity and proof of vaccination, antibodies, or a negative test required. Another VIP day has also been added.

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THE STORIED TRIPITAKA KOREANA—a collection of Buddhist scriptures carved into 81,352 wooden blocks, housed at the Haein Temple in South Korea—will be readily accessible to the public for the first time, the Korea Times reports. While the 13th-century recognized trove has been viewable during certain festivals and ceremonies, regular weekend viewings will soon begin. “As it was created with a yearning to overcome national crises of the past, we decided that the same message of hope could be applied to our current national plight posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Jingak Sunim, of the Haein Temple, said. The blocks, which contain more than 52 million characters, were made over the course of 12 years, following the destruction of the original Tripitaka during an invasion by Mongol forces.

The Digest

Emily Ballew Neff has resigned as director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Tennessee. Neff’s departure comes as the museum had been pursuing a plan to relocate to the city’s downtown, and after the pandemic led to layoffs. Her second three-year contract was reportedly nearing its end. [The Commercial Appeal]

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its annual list of the “11 Most Endangered Historic Places,” which include Alabama farms used in 1965 by civil-rights marchers and the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, Mississippi, an African American boarding house that hosted Muddy Waters, Sam Cooke, Duke Ellington, and other luminaries during Jim Crow. [The Art Newspaper]

The Mellon Foundation is planning to put a whopping $125 million toward the recovery of New York’s art sector. [ARTnews]

Painter Peter Wegner has won Australia’s most important award for portraiture, the Archibald prize, for his painting of fellow artist Guy Warren (who was born in 1921, the same year the Archibald was first presented). [The Guardian]

Speaking of Australian art, a new book looks at the country’s rich history at the Venice Biennale, which included a “withering” response to its presentation of Arthur Streeton landscapes, all more than 50 years old, at the 1958 edition. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

The American Museum of Natural History’s 11,000-square-foot Halls of Gems and Minerals has been redesigned, and is reopening to the public this month. It includes a 12,000-pound amethyst geode. Here’s a look at the displays. [Bloomberg]

The Kicker

THE ARTIST AND ACTIVIST AI WEIWEI is getting ready to open the largest show of his career in Lisbon, Portugal, and the Associated Press reports that he loves the countryMarcello Dantas, who curated an Ai show in São Paulo, said that the artist landed in the country in 2019 at 8 a.m. and had snapped up a house in the town of Montemor-o-Novo by lunch. The artist said he has no plans to go back to Britain or Germany, which he has previously called home.) “I always make decisions by my personal instinct,” Ai told the AP. [Associated Press]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you on Monday.

Correction, 6/4/21, 11:05 a.m.: A previous version of this article stated that the American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Gems and Minerals was reopening next month. It is reopening this month.

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