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THE WAR IN UKRAINE. A Russian attack in the area of Babyn Yar Kyiv, the site of a Nazi massacre of Jews, has been condemned by Jewish groups, the New York Times reports. It was not immediately known to what degree a memorial recently unveiled there was damaged. NPR reports that, amid the invasion, some U.S. organizations that focus on Russian art fear a backlash. The Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki has canceled plans to loan works by Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela to Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery, YLE reports. Russian banker Petr Aven, who has been hit with E.U. sanctions, quit the board of London’s Royal Academy, which returned a donation he made for its current Francis Bacon show, per the Guardian . The paper also reports that a Labor politician has called for Russian energy kingpin Viktor Vekselberg, sanctioned by the U.S. since 2018, to be stripped of his honorary Tate Foundation membership.
STORMS IN AUSTRALIA. Massive flooding in Queensland and New South Wales have killed at least ten, forced thousands to evacuate, and shuttered cultural institutions. The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, home of the current Asia Pacific Triennial 10, in Brisbane said that it will remain closed until March 6, ArtAsiaPacific reports. The Queensland Museum has also shuttered until then. In Lismore, some 120 miles south of the Brisbane, artist Lucy Vader was trapped on her roof by the waters, before being rescued by a kayaker, Ocula reports. Climate scientists have said that, because of global warming, such devastating storms and floods are likely to occur more often in Australia, according to the Guardian.
Kim Byung-Ki, a first-generation abstract artist in South Korea and a leading art theorist, has died. Kim, who was born in 1916, once quipped that “in art, the answer to ‘1+1’ is not 2. It is a world where the answer could be 3, 5 or anything.” He explained that “two is a compromise. The worst thing in art is compromise.” [The JoongAng]
Pioneering kinetic sculptor James Seawright, who was for decades a professor at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University in New Jersey, died at 85. [Princeton University]
Artist Hew Locke has been selected to rework a 1901 public sculpture of Queen Victoria by Thomas Brock in Birmingham, England, as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival. Locke, who is known for addressing controversial monuments, wrote on Instagram, “yes at last! They are letting me loose on an actual statue.” [The Art Newspaper]
Critic and curator Nora N. Khan has been selected as the new leader of the Project X Foundation for Art & Criticism, which backs the X-TRA Contemporary Art Journal. A former professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, Khan is co-curating the 2023 Biennale de L’Image en Mouvement in Geneva, Switzerland. [Artforum]
Since 2017, scholars Véronique Chagnon-Burke and Caterina Toschi have been developing their Women Art Dealers Digital Archives. “We want to challenge the accepted narrative that there were only a few heroic figures,” Chagnon-Burke said. [The Art Newspaper]
The digital-art collection platform Neon has debuted an NFT vending machine in Lower Manhattan. Fiat currency is accepted, and prices run from $5.99 to $420.69. [Reuters]
THE WORDSMITHS. Artist Lawrence Weiner, who died in December at 79, is remembered by a longtime interlocutor, art historian Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, in Artforum. Terming Weiner “the best commentator on and historian of the crisis he had induced” (by using words as his medium), Buchloh uncorks a classic quotation from the artist: “The whole problem is that we accepted a long time ago that bricks can constitute a sculpture, we accepted a long time ago that fluorescent light could constitute a painting. . . . The minute you suggest that language itself is a component in the making of a sculpture, the shit hits the fan.” Weiner, though, never seemed too concerned about that. [Artforum]