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DAN GRAHAM, the widely influential artist whose expansive output shrugged off categories, died over the weekend in New York, Alex Greenberger reports in ARTnews. He was 79. A key figure in the heady early days of Conceptual art in the 1960s, Graham is perhaps best known for his glass pavilions, which toy playfully with perception. They grace public spaces around the world. His practice also ranged from spare text works to incisive videos, like Rock My Religion (1982–84), which draws connections between the practices of religious groups like the Shakers and rock music. “My passion has never been art,” he said in a 2011 Museum of Modern Art oral history. “It’s always been architecture, tourism, and rock and roll, and rock and roll writing.”
ARTIST DE WAIN VALENTINE, who helped pioneer the use of plastics in art, creating alluring and seductive sculptures, died on Sunday at the age of 86, Alex Greenberger reports in ARTnews. Tagged as a leader of the Light and Space and Finish Fetish movements in the 1960s, Valentine came to his interest in unusual materials years earlier, when a middle-school shop teacher showed him how to cut and sand Plexiglas and polyester resin. Valentine would become a teacher himself at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1965, but said, “I got fired—twice—for teaching the art students how to use plastics because the old guard preferred the smell of oil paint.”
FRENCH DISPATCH. French telecom billionaire and street-art booster Xavier Niel has snapped up the famed Hotel Lambert in Paris from Qatar’s Prince Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani for a reported €200 million (about $226 million). Niel is said to be mulling a plan to use it the home for a cultural foundation. [Bloomberg]
A WARM WELCOME. Two bronzes looted by British troops from the Kingdom of Benin in what is now Nigeria at the end of the 1800s were officially received in a ceremony at a palace there, the Guardian reports. The pieces had been repatriated by the University of Aberdeen and Cambridge University’s Jesus College in the United Kingdom. For more on the Benin Bronzes, ARTnews has a primer.
TECH BLOTTER. Part of Cameroon’s first-ever pavilion at the Venice Biennale will be a show of NFT art (a first for the show) organized by a group known as Global Crypto Art DAO, Artnet News reports. (There will be physical art, too.) Saudi Arabia is convening a forum on NFT art, the National reports. And the U.S. Copyright Office ruled that an AI-created artwork submitted for review cannot be copyrighted, the Verge reports. Its reasoning: The piece lacks the necessary “human authorship.”
GUEST APPEARANCES. A New York Times story about fire pits in New York featured artists Wendy Klemperer and Michael Ballou, who both have those delights at their Brooklyn abodes. And the recent wedding of artist Isla de Luca and photographer Tati Bruening was officiated by heiress Ivy Getty, per Page Six. Peter Brant Jr., son of art collector Peter Brant was among the guests.
SNAPSHOTS. Andres Serrano photographed scholar and critic Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for a New Yorker interview between Gates and the magazine’s chief, David Remnick. Elsewhere in the New Yorker, Nick Paumgarten caught up with photographer Marcia Resnick, who has a touring retrospective opening at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine.
CELEBRITY BLOTTER. And North West, the 8-year-old daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, made an impressively out-there painting, Page Six notes. Also, American football star Kelvin Beachum and his wife, Jessica Beachum, are displaying art from their collection at his alma mater, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Architectural Digest reports.
A HEAVENLY HOMECOMING. In 1980, the late art thief René Alphonse van den Berghe, aka Erik the Belgianoff, stole six tapestries by 17th-century artist Corneille Schutz from a church in northern Spain. All six were recovered, but a portion of one has remained missing—until recently. The Guardian reports that a Spanish police officer named Ángel Alcaraz tracked it down , apparently with the aid of Van den Berghe’s lawyer, and it has been returned. “If heaven should lack one angel it would be a lesser heaven,” Alcaraz told the paper. “And if this tapestry had lacked this little angel, it wouldn’t be the same tapestry.” [The Guardian]