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Whitney Acquires Norman Lewis Painting, and Trump’s Wedding Cake Sells at Auction

Plus, the New Orleans Museum of Art acquires 26 new works for its sculpture garden, and an Ebony G. Patterson tapestry joins the Pérez Museum of Art Miami collection.

Norman Lewis, “American Totem” (1960), oil on canvas, 73 1/2 × 44 7/8 inches (© Norman Lewis, image courtesy Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY)

The Whitney Museum of American Art has acquired Norman Lewis’s painting “American Totem” (1960). “One of Lewis’s most important paintings,” said Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney, “this acquisition will allow the Whitney to more effectively portray the complex history of American art at mid-century.” The purchase was made possible with funds from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund in memory of Preston Robert and Joan Tisch, the Painting and Sculpture Committee, Director’s Discretionary Fund, Adolph Gottlieb, by exchange, and Sami and Hala Mnaymneh. The painting will go on display in an exhibition dedicated to the New York School, with paintings by Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, and more. The exhibition opens on June 28. [via email announcement]

Ebony G. Patterson, "… a wailing black horse … for those who bear/bare witness" (2018), detail, hand cut jacquard photo tapestry with glitter, appliques, pins, embellishments, fabric, tassels, brooches, acrylic, glass pearls, beads, hand cast embellished heliconias, shelf, embellished resin owl, and artist-designed fabric wallpaper (not pictured) (image courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago)
Ebony G. Patterson, “… a wailing black horse … for those who bear/bare witness” (2018), detail, hand cut jacquard photo tapestry with glitter, appliques, pins, embellishments, fabric, tassels, brooches, acrylic, glass pearls, beads, hand cast embellished heliconias, shelf, embellished resin owl, and artist-designed fabric wallpaper (not pictured) (image courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago)

The Pérez Museum of Art Miami (PAMM) announced the acquisition of a large-scale tapestry by Jamaican visual artist Ebony G. Patterson, who currently has a solo exhibition on view at PAMM through May 5. The acquisition was made possible through the museum’s African Art Fund. [via email announcement]

José María Sert y Badía, “Adventures of Sinbad the Sailor” (1924), oil and gold leaf on wood panel (image courtesy San Diego Museum of Art)

The San Diego Museum of Art has received a gift of three panels by Spanish muralist José María Sert (1874–1945) from Romy Silver-Kohn and Leigh Silver, in honor of Jack and Shirley Silver. The panels illustrate Sinbad the Sailor’s seven voyages and will be on display at the museum’s quarterly event, Culture & Cocktails, on February 21. [via email announcement]

The Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired Rembrandt van Rijn’s rare oil sketch “Head of a young man, with clasped hands: Study of the figure of Christ” (c. 1648–56). The piece is part of a series of oil sketches often called Rembrandt’s Face of Jesus group. This is the first Rembrandt work known to have been acquired for a public collection in the Gulf region. The work will go on display today in the exhibition Rembrandt, Vermeer & the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre, which runs until May 18.

(image courtesy RR Auction)
(image courtesy RR Auction)

Artist Andres Serrano, colloquially known as “Piss Christ Artist,” has purchased a miniature wedding cake given out as a party favor at Donald and Melania Trump’s wedding in 2005. Serrano bought the cake for $1,880 at RR Auctions in Boston on February 7. The chocolate truffle cake, monogrammed “MDT,” includes the box, “with scattered stains.” Serrano has gained media attention for his works that use bodily fluids and feces — “Piss Christ” (1987), for instance — and in 2003, the artist photographed President Trump for his America series (2002–04). When asked what he would do with the cake, Serrano told RR Auctions,  “Artists work in mysterious ways. You never know what they’re up to! I don’t like to talk about things until I’m ready to talk.” [via email announcement]

Yinka Shonibare, “Wind Sculpture V” (2013), steel armature and cast fiberglass resin, 240 x 133 5/16 x 31 3/16 inches (image courtesy New Orleans Museum of Art, photo by R. Alokhin)
Yinka Shonibare, “Wind Sculpture V” (2013), steel armature and cast fiberglass resin, 240 x 133 5/16 x 31 3/16 inches (image courtesy New Orleans Museum of Art, photo by R. Alokhin)

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) has acquired 26 new works by 21st century artists for the expansion of the Sydney and Walds Besthoff Sculpture Garden, opening May 15. The garden will include works by Larry Bell, Tony Cragg, Johan Creten, Katharina Fritsch, Frank Gehry, Jeppe Hein, Georg Herold, Thomas Houseago, Shirazeh Houshiary, Baltasar Lobo, Robert Longo, Gerold Miller, Beverly Pepper, Pedro Reyes, George Rickey, Ursula van Rydingsvard, Sean Scully, Yinka Shonibare, Frank Stella, Hank Willis Thomas, Bernar Venet, and Fred Wilson. In addition, two new works have been commissioned: a 60-foot-long mosaic wall by Teresita Fernández and a glass bridge by Elyn Zimmerman. The garden will be free and open to the public.

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