Curators Assess Damage to U.S. Capitol Art Holdings, Museum Closures in Venice, and More: Morning Links from January 8, 2021

Curators Assess Damage to U.S. Capitol Art Holdings, Museum Closures in Venice, and More: Morning Links from January 8, 2021

Good morning! It’s Friday, January 8.

Curators are assessing the damage to the U.S. Capitol and its art, some Venetians are unhappy that their museums are closed until tourist season, and there’s a strangely large amount of graffiti news.

The Headlines

WITH THE U.S. CAPITOL NOW CLEARED OF RIOTERS, those who care for it are beginning to evaluate its status. While there were broken windows and doors, “the singular works of art that curators consider the treasures of the building did not appear to have suffered any major damage,” Sarah Bahr writes in the New York Times. It could be worse, one of the Capitol’s former curators said. Anthony Veerkamp, a former director of policy development for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, proposed that some damage go unfixed “as a reminder that our monuments, our institutions, and our values are all vulnerable, and must be constantly cared for.” Meanwhile, artists weighed in on the images of white people storming the legislature, the Art Newspaper reports. Had it been Black people, Glenn Ligon said, “we’d be seeing them come out in body bags.”

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From the Archives: Report from New York–The Graffiti Question

THESE ARE HARD DAYS FOR VENICE. The mayor of the Italian city, Luigi Brugnaro, has sparked outrage by saying he will keep its museums closed until April, when the tourist season tends to begin, Venice expert Anna Somers Cox reports in the Art Newspaper. Critics accuse the mayor, who is from the mainland, of putting financial concerns about the needs of locals and needlessly extending the furlough staffers. Under current guidelines from the Italian government, museums in the country can actually plan to reopen in mid-January. A petition decrying Brugnaro’s decision has garnered 3,000 signatures. “I’m doing what any good family man would do,” he said, for his part. “The opening of the museums depends on whether people can travel freely, on the pool of users.” The AFP also reports that the 300-year-old Caffè Florian , the home of comically overpriced food and beverages, says it is in a precarious financial position because of the pandemic. Everyone from Proust to Warhol has visited the haunt, but fame alone will not keep it going. Says Florian’s managing director, “We will stay open for as long as we can, but we can do not more than that.”

The Walls

Graffiti art is hot in Beijing. Have a look. [The Guardian]

Richard Serra’s work in the Qatari desert has been hit with graffiti—again. [The Art Newspaper]

José Parlá, Shepard Fairey, and KAWS unite in a new film. [L’Officiel Art]

The Digest

Brett Gorvy talked with Nate Freeman about opening up a Lévy Gorvy branch in Palm Beach, Florida, saying that, down there, “people are a little bit less stressed than they seem to be in main cities.” [Artnet News]

The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, has received a gift of a collection of kinetic artworks by Marcel Duchamp, Nam June Park, and others. [WFMJ]

What’s the weirdest object in Tishan Hsu’s studio? “The skin of a stingray,” he says. [T: The New York Times Style Magazine]

Maximilíano Durón reviewed a new documentary about Rembrandt collectors. What is it like to live with a masterpiece? [ARTnews]

Artist Sarah Bahbah has launched a loungewear brand called Lazy Cake. [The Cut]

If you can get to Shanghai in the next few days, make sure to catch Alex Da Corte’s show at Prada Rong Zhai. [Shine]

Artist Betty Harper has made more than 20,000 images of Elvis Presley. [Memphis Commercial Appeal]

The Kicker

Rudy Giuliani strumming a guitar while listening to conspiracy theories. Sean Hannity washing dishes while delivering a monologue. These are some of the very weird, very weirdly poignant videos that Australian artist Matt Griffin has been posting recently. You can view some on the website of the Melbourne art space ACMI and more on his Instagram, @Contemporaryary.

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

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