NFT Bubble Deflates, Belgium Returns Nazi-Looted Painting, and More: Morning Links from June 3, 2021

NFT Bubble Deflates, Belgium Returns Nazi-Looted Painting, and More: Morning Links from June 3, 2021

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The Headlines

BELGIUM SAID THAT IT WILL RETURN A LOVIS CORINTH PAINTING to the heirs of a German Jewish couple who had the work stolen from them as they fled Germany during World War II, the AFP reports. The still life of flowers ended up in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels. Corinth has been in the news a lot of late. The National Gallery and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in England just received an 1899 portrait by the German artist as a donation (in lieu of inheritance taxes), and a 1917 landscape that was recently restituted to the heirs of the German Jewish art collector Ismar Littmann will be offered later this month at Ketterer Kunst in Munich.

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A HOLLYWOOD BUILDING USED IN THE 1960S AS A STUDIO by the artist, educator, and nun Corita Kent has been granted landmark status by the Los Angeles City Council. The vote came after a campaign by the Corita Art Center in L.A. to nix a plan to level the building and turn it into a parking lot. The center’s director, Nellie Scott , championed the decision in a statement, and said, “There remains a long road to walk together in preserving and promoting the legacies of significant women artists.” Just 3 percent of historic-cultural monuments in L.A. are associated with women, according to the center, which said it “is now exploring the future of how this building can be of service to the creative community as a part of the preservation of Corita Kent’s legacy.”

The Digest

The Hobby Lobby craft store filed suit against onetime Oxford University classics professor Dirk Obbink, aiming to claw back around $7 million it paid him for ancient papyrus fragments that it says were stolen. At the time, Obbink’s offerings were intended for the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which was founded by the Hobby Lobby’s president, Steve Green. Obbink, who was arrested last year for allegedly stealing papyri owned by Oxford’s Egypt Exploration Society, has not commented on the suit but has defended himself against allegations of improper dealing in the past. [Courthouse News]

The NFT market is not exactly booming. While $102 million worth of the tokens changed hands on May 3, the field’s high-water mark, a mere $19.4 million in sales were processed in the past week. [Protos]

Greece said that it will take steps to make the Acropolis in Athens more accessible to people with disabilities, adding handrails, Braille signs, and scale models of the site. [AFP/France24]

Some residents of Greenville, South Carolina, have objected to a public display of sculptures by the Mexican artist Jorge Marín that feature men wearing only wings or masks. (One piece has “clearly defined” genitals, according to a petition.) The local county council voted against providing marketing funds to the city’s Hispanic Alliance, which is presenting the piece. [Associated Press]

Lévy Gorvy gallery will stage a four-part show with Mickalene Thomas in the fall across its four spaces, in New York, London, Paris, and Hong Kong. It’s “the most ambitious project I’ve ever done with a living artist,” Dominque Lévy said. [Financial Times]

Despite a coronavirus delay that led the 2020 Gwangju Biennale to open in April 2021, officials at the South Korean organization said they are aiming to stage the next edition in September 2022—the same month that Frieze Seoul is scheduled to debut. [The Korea Herald]

The Kicker

OP ART PIONEER BRIDGET RILEY TURNED 90 back in April, and her latest show opens to the public today at David Zwirner in London. In an interview (something of a rarity for her) with BBC News, she discussed what it’s like to make art for decades and revisit older works. “Sometimes they’re entirely old friends,” she said. “Other times, I see things in them which I didn’t intend, didn’t see, didn’t hope for, or weren’t apparent to me.” [BBC News]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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