Glenn O’Brien, New York Cultural Icon, Dead at 70—and the 9 Other Biggest News Stories This Week
01 Glenn O’Brien, the pioneering writer who captured the creativity of downtown New York, has died at 70.
Glenn O’Brien passed away on April 7th, after battling a long-term illness. A fixture in the 1980s downtown New York scene, O’Brien corralled its artistic energy into magazines like
02 The artist list for Documenta 14 was released on Thursday as previews of the quinquennial exhibition commenced.
Opening to the public on Saturday, April 8, Documenta 14 is split equally across two cities—Athens, Greece and its traditional home of Kassel, Germany—for the first time in the exhibition’s 62-year history. Titled “Learning from Athens,” Polish curator Adam Szymczyk’s iteration of one of
03 A federal court has ruled that Germany can be sued in the United States over Nazi-looted art, paving the way for the nation to face a U.S. court for the first time in a Nazi restitution case.
In what lawyers for the heirs are calling a landmark decision, last Friday a Washington D.C. District Court ruled that Germany can be sued in U.S. court in the Guelph Treasure case. A collection of 11th to 15th century precious Prussian artifacts valued at over $250 million, the treasure was sold under duress by Jewish art dealers in 1935 to members of the Third Reich. The case had already been heard by a German commission, which found that, though the sales prices were low, the sum wasn’t a result of coercion but of an art market decline. Germany’s attorney, Jonathan Freiman, told Reuters in an email that “this is a dispute that was already resolved on the merits in Germany, and it doesn't belong in a U.S. court.” But the District Court disagreed, instead siding with the argument put forward by the heirs of the dealers: that such a taking constituted a violation of international law and as such, falls under U.S. jurisdiction as an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Nicholas M. O’Donnell, a partner at Sullivan & Worcester representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement, “We are pleased that the Court agreed that a forced sale for an inadequate sum to agents of Hermann Goering enjoys no immunity from justice.”
04 Renowned Pop artist James Rosenquist has died at age 83.
(via the New York Times)
MoMA, the Guggenheim and the Whitney, among other institutions, and an exhibition of his work will go on view at Germany’s Museum Ludwig later this year.
05 An Andy Warhol “Mao” broke an auction record in China but still came in under its estimate, sparking a debate about the country’s market.
(via South China Morning Post)
Backed by an irrevocable bid,
06 Groundbreaking artist Lorna Simpson is now represented by Hauser & Wirth.
(via Hauser & Wirth)
The international gallery announced Tuesday that it will take on worldwide representation of Frieze New York in May, where the artist’s work will show at Hauser & Wirth’s booth. “We are honored and delighted to welcome Lorna Simpson into the gallery’s family,” said gallery vice president Marc Payot in a statement. “Her rigor, her passion, and her incredible sensitivity produce not only extraordinary art but also an invitation to engage in a dialogue about identity that we are eager to share.” Since rising to prominence in the late 1980s, Simpson’s mixed-media photographs have scrutinized visual and linguistic representations of race and gender. In 1990, she became the first African-American woman to show her work at the Venice Biennale. Other artists represented by Hauser & Wirth include Zoe Leonard,
07 Several museums are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Marcel Duchamp’s seminal readymade Fountain by offering free admission on Sunday.
Organized by Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto—are participating in the initiative, which also has the approval of Association Marcel Duchamp. Visitors who utter the name “R. Mutt” or “Richard Mutt,” the pseudonym Duchamp used to sign Fountain (1917), will be let in free of charge from 3-4 p.m. on April 9th. The timing stems from Duchamp’s notable affinity for trios (he once remarked “three is everything” to a BBC reporter). Inspired by the urinal used for Fountain, some museums will also host Duchampian events in their bathrooms. In what the Philadelphia Museum of Art is calling a “special location,” the institution will host a local theater company’s reenactment of the scandal first caused by the artwork in 1917. “Instead of doing your usual symposium, where people put their heads together and say things that have been said so many times before—most of it self referential and sometimes boring—it’s great to honor the anniversary with somewhat of a
08 Russia has criminalized images that challenge Vladimir Putin’s masculinity.
(via New York Times)
The Russian Justice Ministry declared last month that images showing Russian President Vladimir Putin in an unmasculine light constitute “extremist materials.” The ruling stems from an edited image depicting Putin in heavy drag makeup posted last year to the social network VKontakte. Those who share or display such images can now face a fine of 3,000 rubles ($52) or a 15-day detention. Putin is known for his cultivation of a personal mythos of hypermasculinity, with widely publicized photos showing him riding horses shirtless or sporting weaponry. Putin is also notorious for enacting deeply homophobic legislation—including a ban on adoptions by LGBT couples, the legalized detention of suspected gay citizens and tourists, and the classification of potential “homosexual propaganda” as pornography. This has led to allegations about Putin’s sexuality to become a common protest tactic, a trend this legislation is designed to stifle.
09 The FBI has recovered a stolen Norman Rockwell painting, 40 years after its disappearance.
(via the New York Times)
10 A court cleared the Polish government’s controversial takeover of the country’s Museum of the Second World War.
(via New York Times)
The institution will fall under control of the Polish government following Wednesday’s decision by the Polish Supreme Administrative Court. Opened in March in the city of Gdańsk, the museum was conceived to be Europe’s most exhaustive public exhibition on World War II. However, indication that Poland’s right-wing government will seek to alter the museum’s historical direction has ignited a protracted debate. Museum director Pawel Machcewicz curated a permanent exhibition that adopts an international perspective on the histories of Polish citizens, Eastern Europeans, and Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews. The current Polish administration has long criticized Machcewicz—an appointee of the previous centrist government—placing his future with the museum into question. Poland’s culture ministry has expressed its vision for a more nationalist perspective, one more narrowly focused on Polish losses during the Battle of Westerplatte. Culture Minister Piotr Glinski had previously argued that such a change in conceptual direction would greatly benefit the museum. And on Wednesday, Machcewicz criticized the court’s ruling, expressing his uncertainty over the permanent exhibition’s future integrity.
Cover image: detail of a portrait of Glenn O’Brien by Peter Ross via Instagram (@peterrossportraits)