Critic Roberta Smith Questions Met’s Philip Guston Gift, Italy Presents Repatriated Antiquities, and More: Morning Links for January 24, 2023

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The Headlines

HOMECOMING. At a press conference in Rome on Monday, Italian officials took a bit of a victory lap, exhibiting 60 ancient objects that had been taken out of the country illegally and subsequently confiscated, the Associated Press reports. The items include a fresco from the doomed city of Herculaneum, a terracotta Etruscan kylix, and a great deal more—all valued at north of $20 million. “What we are presenting today is the result of international cooperation, but much still needs to be done on this front,” Italy’s culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, said, according to the Guardian. CNN reports that most of the material came from the collection of New York financier Michael Steinhardt, who surrendered 180 looted antiquities in a 2021 deal with Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Related Articles

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 23: People weairng masks sit on the stairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where Yoko Ono's new art installation, Dream Together, is displayed on the facade as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on August 23, 2020 in New York City. The installation was unveiled on August 20th in preparation for The Met's reopening on August 29th, 2020 after being closed due to the coronavirus. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

ARTISTS SPACE. The irrepressible Jenkin van Zyl is currently showing at Edel Asanti in London, where he lives and works, and in the Guardian discussed lighting himself on fire for his first film. “It is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever done,” he said. However, he got the shot. The Beninese assemblage master Georges Adéagbo spoke with Smithsonian Magazine about his homage to Abraham Lincoln, now on view at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C. And the freethinking German sculptor Tobias Rehberger chatted with the South China Morning Post about his diverse output and his artistic philosophy. “My desire is that art should be art of our everyday lives, not exceptional, not something you just go somewhere to look at, then to turn around and go home. I want art in our kitchens, our garages, our cars,” Rehberger said. Hear, hear!

The Digest

Critic Roberta Smith questioned the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s decision to accept a gift of 220 Philip Guston works, including 96 paintings, from the artist’s daughter, Musa Guston Mayer. “Practically, and symbolically, it takes up too much of the oxygen in the room,” Smith writes. [The New York Times]

Six finalists have been named in Los Angeles’s competition to create a monument for the Chinese Massacre of 1871, in which at least 18 Chinese men were killed. Artists who are part of the selected teams include Candice LinSze Tsung Nicolás LeongAnna Sew Hoy, and others. [Los Angeles Times]

Curator Anthony Huberman has been named director of the John Giorno Foundation and artistic director of its arts space, the Bunker, the Lower Manhattan loft where Giorno lived and worked as an artist and poet. Huberman arrives from the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, where he has been director for a decade. [Artforum]

The curatorial team for the 2025 Hawai’i Triennial will be made up of independent curator Wassan Al-KhudhairiBinna Choi, who leads the Casco Art Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands; and Noelle M. K. Y. Kahanu, an independent curator who is a member of the faculty at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. [Press Release/Hawai’i Contemporary]

The revered sculptor Reinhard Mucha is the subject of a sprawling exhibition at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in his hometown of Düsseldorf, Germany. It is being billed as Mucha’s first major show since a Swiss doubleheader in 1987, and includes more than 60 works, many of them unseen for years. [Designboom]

The North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks has started a GoFundMe campaign to replace a sculpture by Elizabeth MacDonald that went missing from its grounds in late October. [Grand Forks Herald]

The Kicker

A RULE TO LIVE BY. Artist Oh U-am, a South Korean figurative painter who was one of the stars of the 2022 Busan Biennale, was profiled by E. Tammy Kim in the New Yorker. Now 84, Oh only began to paint full-time in his 60s; before that, he was a handyman at a nunnery in Busan. In a spare, precise style, he conjures a vast array of scenes of Korean history and contemporary life in his pictures. However, there is one thing he does not paint. “I never do self-portraits,” he told Kim. “You die early if you do.” [The New Yorker]

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