Interpol Releases Art-Theft App, Frank Gehry’s Philadelphia Museum of Art Renovation is Done, and More: Morning Links from May 7, 2021

Interpol Releases Art-Theft App, Frank Gehry’s Philadelphia Museum of Art Renovation is Done, and More: Morning Links from May 7, 2021

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The Headlines

INTERPOL, THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL POLICE ORGANIZATION, has gone into the app business. The group’s new ID-Art app lets users upload photographs of artworks, which are then checked against its database of stolen pieces via image-recognition technology, Forbes reports. (Sounds like a fun way to kill some time at an art fair.) If there’s a match, a pop-up apparently lets you notify the authorities. This things has some serious functionality: It can also be used to create a private inventory of work (to make reporting easier in the event of theft), and it can be used to help highlight at-risk heritage sites. Interpol said that, during the app’s testing phase, Italian Carabinieri used it to identify two stolen statues that were available for sale online.

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A HOT TREND: ARTWORKS BEING DESTROYED as part of various NFT schemes. Reuters reports that the British street artist Nathan Murdoch recently painted a giant mural, took a photo of it, then covered it with paint. His plan: sell it as a print (on eBay) and as an NFT. (The print seems like a bit of a hedge, but never mind.) A few days ago, the crypto king Brock Pierce also burned a Domingo Zapata painting (with the permission of the artist), making a video that will become an NFT. (Page Six has the full story, and an image of the fire.) And then there was the bizarre effort to sell an NFT of a Basquiat drawing with the buyer given the (almost certainly illegal) invitation to destroy it. The artist’s estate foiled that. These seem like signs of a healthy culture.

The Digest

After four years of construction, Frank Gehry’s renovation and expansion of the Philadelphia Museum of Art opens to the pubic today. [Designboom]

Emergency grants of $1,000 are being offered to New York City–based artists with disabilities by the New York Foundation for the Arts. [The New York Times]

And New York City is creating a $25 million program to commission artists to create works throughout the five boroughs. The City Artist Corps, as it is being called, aims to generate 1,500 jobs. [The New York Times]

It’s a big moment for the artist and musician Lonnie Holley, who has two shows in the Hamptons, and who just joined the powerhouse Blum & Poe gallery. [The New York Times]

Artist Adriana Varejão, who currently has a show of her sumptuous, and sometimes discomforting, paintings at Gagosian in New York, discussed her work, meat, and her Oscar Niemeyer–designed home in Rio de Janeiro in a new interview. [Wallpaper]

A new exhibition about Napoleon has gone on view in a museum that is part of the Waterloo Memorial in Belgium, and it includes the bathtub he used in exile on Saint Helena “for between an hour and an hour-and-a-half” each day, according to an organizer. Wednesday was the 200th anniversary of the French emperor’s death. [AFP/ArtDaily]

The Kicker

SOME PEOPLE THINK IT WAS A BAD IDEA for the town of Noto, Japan, to spend about $274,000 in pandemic stimulus on a giant squid sculpture, with the aim of attracting tourists and highlighting its local fishing industry, Reuters reports. The ARTnews take: the sculpture is captivating, squid is delicious, and given the amount of press this faux controversy has generated, Noto is now on the map!

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

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