Ana Mendieta’s Family Vexed by Portrayal, Laurene Powell Jobs Buys San Francisco Art Institute and More: Morning Links for March 4, 2024

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MENDIETA NARRATIVE DEBATE. The estate and family of Ana Mendieta are concerned about the portrayal of the Cuban artist’s story in recent projects, including an Amazon MGM Studios film in development, starring and produced by America Ferrera. The problem for the family, according to the New York Times, is the excessive focus on the artist’s tragic death by falling from her apartment window in 1985, rather than on her work, and their inability to change that. “Not only are we forced to relive her death over and over again, but we have no say in how she is being portrayed,” said the artist’s niece, Raquel Cecilia Mendieta, who runs her aunt’s estate. The Ferrera team contacted the Mendieta estate but were “unwilling to give me and my family a significant voice in how Ana’s story would be told,” she added. Helen Molesworth, the host of the podcast about Mendieta, “Death of an Artist,” defended her approach as heavily discussing the artist’s work, and “culture in general.” The estate, however, refused participation in Molesworth’s project, and wanted to be more involved, the New York Times reported. “I don’t think estates can ever control how stories are told,” noted Molesworth. “I’m a Duchampian. The viewer completes the work.” nikmatqq

SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE SOLD. A nonprofit led by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, has purchased the historic San Francisco Art Institute, home of a monumental Diego Rivera mural; the institution is set to remain an art school. The Art Institute filed for bankruptcy last April, after years of financial hardship, and Powell Jobs reportedly purchased the campus for about $30 million—a  price tag that includes the mural, valued at about $50 million. Notable alumni of the 1926-built campus, which boasts a roof courtyard with sweeping bay views, include artists ranging from Ansel Adams, Mark Rothko, and Kehinde Wiley. The school’s mounting debt and ultimate closing was widely seen as a symbolic blow to the San Francisco Bay area’s art scene. nikmatqq


South Central Los Angeles is building what has been described as the largest Black public art project in the United States, named Destination Crenshaw. The outdoor museum with murals and sculptures will stretch 1.3 miles down Crenshaw Boulevard, and include works by Charles Dickson, Melvin Edwards, Maren Hassinger, and others, at a projected cost of $122 million through 2027. [The Art Newspaper]

A new petition urges New York City to build a permanent monument in honor of Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl who died last week, after flying into a Manhattan skyscraper window. A vandal released Flaco from the Central Park Zoo last year, and the bird developed a devout following. [Hyperallergic]

Iris Apfel, the flamboyant New York interior designer, collector, and stylist has died at age 102. The “geriatric starlet,” per her biography, became an icon in her 90s. [BBC] nikmatqq

Paris antique dealers are lobbying against a “dramatic and damaging” new European Union import rule they say is too restrictive and risks criminalizing innocent collectors. The new law concerning the import of antiques, art, and archaeological objects, goes into effect June 28, 2025. [Artnet News]

A rediscovered and restored Banksy artwork that was initially painted over by its former owners in London, heads to auction, and is expected to fetch $890,000. [Artnet News]

A restored, 26-foot-tall, fifth-century BCE statue of Atlas has been installed at the ancient Temple of Zeus in Agrigento in Sicily. [Smithsonian Magazine]


ARE COPIES A SOLUTION TO RESTITUTION? The digital art company Factum Foundation behind the 3D-printed copy of the 43-foot-tall, fourth-century emperor Constantine the Great recently installed in Rome, spoke to The Telegraph about their swashbuckling work scanning artifacts and hidden archaeological treasures for digital reproduction, as well as the solutions they may offer in art restitution battles. Otto Lowe, one of the specialists at Factum Foundation, said the archaeological artifacts they are commissioned to replicate are often under threat of destruction, making their work critical for preservation. But there is another benefit: the surprisingly accurate digital copies can also offer a temporary solution to heritage restitution claims. “Our goal is never to stop people seeing the original,” explained Lowe. “Each case is different, and it’s not for us to make those decisions,” he said in response to the view that often, facsimiles just don’t cut it.


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