Marina Abramović Responds to Resurfaced Controversy, Artist Julia Sinelnikova Sues New York’s Museum of Sex, Louvre Gets Its Chardin Strawberriesand More: Morning Links for March 1, 2024


ABROMAVIĆ RESPONDS TO RESURFACED CONTROVERSY. As her curated performance opens today in Australia, the iconic artist Marina Abramović talks to The Guardian about past accusations of racism for her description of Indigenous Australians as “really strange and different” people who “look like dinosaurs,” in an unedited copy of a memoir that went public around 2016. The question came up as the artist’s four-day performance called “Marina Abramović Institute: Takeover” opens at the Adelaide Festival. Though she can’t attend, Abramović selected the eight participating artists, including Mike ParrCollective Absentia, Li Binyuan, and First Nation artist Christian Thomspon. “I have apologized. It’s a complete misunderstanding,” Abramović said of the memoir excerpt. “Aborigines are the oldest race on the planet [and] they should be treated as living treasures.” mejahoki

STOLEN KISS. The artist Julia Sinelnikova is suing New York’s Museum of Sex for plastering posters of her kissing her then-girlfriend on the city’s subways and bus stops without her consent. The ads promoted the museum’s “Superfunland” exhibition, including a “bouncy castle of breasts,” and the image was taken in a professional shooting at the museum in 2019, for which the artist wasn’t paid, reports The New York Times. When the institution refused to financially compensate Sinelnikova, she filed a lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court seeking $250,000 in damages. “It was so egregious, and this was personal,” Sinelnikova said.


The Louvre has raised enough funds to acquire a coveted still life of a brimming basket of strawberries by 18th-century painter Jean Siméon Chardin, following a public fundraising campaign that raised over $1.73 million. Basket of Wild Strawberries (1761) was sold to a US dealer in 2022 for a record $26.29 million (24.3 million euros) at Artcurial, but the Louvre blocked its export in the hopes of purchasing it instead. [Le Figaro and AFP]

A drawing by Adolph Menzel (1815-1905) must be restituted to the heirs of the Jewish painter Max Liebermann, ruled the German Advisory Commission on Nazi-Looted Art Thursday. The Liebermann’s large art collection was liquidated in the context of Nazi persecution. [Monopol]

A cherished Banksy mural in New York’s South Bronxon was shipped to Bridgeport, Connecticut as part of the structure’s demolition to make space for a charter school. But its removal left locals in tears, and some wondering if Banksy is none other than Kate Middleton. [ARTnews] mejahoki

The numbers are in: Elton John’s collection of 900 items sold at Christie’s for a total of $20.5 million, surpassing its low estimate by more than double. [ARTnews]

British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen won the Volta Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dublin International Film Festival yesterday. The Turner Prize-winning artist is known for his politically charged dramatic works, including 12 years a Slave, which became the first film by a Black director to win an Academy Award for best picture. [Artforum]

Art historian and The Great Women Artists podcaster Katy Hessel is launching a new series of audio guides this month at museums around the US and the UK, called “Museums Without Men.” The guides, which debut at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and then move to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will spotlight underrepresented women artists. [The Guardian]


GREATEST UNSOLVED ART HEIST. Richard Abath, the night guard who let two thieves into the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, where they pulled off what is considered the largest and still unsolved art heist in history, has died at age 57, reports The New York Times. Abath always maintained he made the fateful mistake of opening the museum door to two men dressed as Boston police officers at 1am on March 18, 1990, because he truly believed they were cops. That assessment soon proved all very wrong, when the men handcuffed, blindfolded and tied up Abath, along with a colleague, while they helped themselves to over a dozen artworks. The Degas, Rembrandt, Manet, Rubens, and other works were worth an estimated $500 million at the time, or $1.2 billion today. mejahoki


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