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Week in Review: $650M LACMA Redesign Approved, #DontMuteDC Embraces Go-Go Music

Also, the Jewish Museum in Berlin will no longer accept money from the Sacklers, Saatchi Gallery is now a nonprofit, and more.

Architect Peter Zumthor’s current concept for the LACMA redesign (image courtesy Building LACMA)

Week in Review is a weekly collection of news, developments, and stirrings in the art world. Subscribe to receive these posts as a weekly newsletter.

A controversial plan to redesign (and downsize) the Los Angeles County Museum of Art passed with unanimous approval from the Board of Supervisors for LA County. They will release $117.5 million in taxpayer funding for its construction, which is estimated to cost $650 million. [NYT]

Researchers believe a rediscovered, figurative painting thought to be by Kazimir Malevich, called “The portrait of Elizaveta Yakovleva,” was actually made by one of the avant-garde artist’s students, Maria Dzhagupova. Dzhagupova also designed the geometric, suprematist bag Yakovleva carries in the painting. According to the Guardian, the artwork was particularly lauded in an exhibition at the Tate Modern dedicated to the Russian painter. [Guardian]

Washington, DC natives and go-go music fanatics gathered by the hundreds this week to celebrate the legacy of the genre and protect its presence in the city. The owner of a local Metro PCS, Donald Campbell, has been playing go-go music outside of his storefront in Shaw for 24 years. But recently, after a resident of a nearby luxury condo threatened a lawsuit, T-Mobile asked Mr. Shaw to move the music indoors — a move that confused and disappointed locals who had grown to love hearing the music on the street corner since 1995, with many referring to the store as a local landmark. Shaw told the DCist, “Every day all day, people think we’re closed. People have been complaining, asking what’s going on,” Shaw told the DCist. “Generations of Howard students, generations of people know that I play music every single day.” Most saw the demand as a signal of a changing neighborhood in the face of gentrification. Thousands of people started using the hashtag #DontMuteDC in support, while a Change.org petition defending the music garnered 70,000 signatures. Hundreds (including famed DC musicians like Wale) turned out in the streets for a public protest and celebratory concert, blasting go-go from their speakers. After their efforts and proud embrace of the DC genre, T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeted, “the music should NOT stop in D.C.! […] the music will go on and our dealer will work with the neighbors to compromise volume.” [DCist]

The Jewish Museum in Berlin, which received funding from the Sacklers in 2002, will no longer accept funds from the family. They join Tate and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among others, in their public stance against Sackler money. [TAN]

Terracotta warriors (image via Wikimedia Commons)

The federal case against a man who broke off the thumb of a $4.5 million terracotta warrior at a Philadelphia museum has concluded with a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The vandalization occurred after Michael Rohana had a bit too much to drink at an ugly sweater party held at the Franklin Institute in December 2017, when he ended up in a closed-off exhibit of 10 Chinese terracotta warrior statues. He was charged with the theft and concealment of an item of cultural heritage. However, his lawyer says, his act of “youthful vandalism” was persecuted too harshly: “These charges were made for art thieves — think like Ocean’s Eleven or Mission: Impossible.” Federal prosecutors will decide if they will seek a retrial by May 15.

London’s popular Saatchi Gallery is now operating as a non-profit following a substantial decline in visitors. In 2017 the gallery, owned by prominent art collector Charles Saatchi, welcomed more than 1.8 million people in 2017, but declined to 1.2 million in 2018. [NYT]

The state governor of Sao Paulo, João Doria, announced a contingency plan that would reduce the culture ministry’s annual budget by 23%. In a recent video, Doria said: “Nothing will be closed and nothing will be stopped. We have not yet announced which programmes will be impacted because we are doing it calmly and with good planning.” However, museums in the region, like the Pinacoteca, have spoken up about their fears that the reduction will have a major impact on public programs, admission prices, and temporary exhibitions. Doria, a millionaire, appeared on the Brazilian version of The Apprentice before he took office in January 2019. [TAN]

Transactions

Claes Oldenburg, "Notebook Page: Shoestring Potatoes, Ketchup Bottle and Coke Glass, New York," ballpoint pen and clipping, 8 x 5 13/16 inches on sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches (photo courtesy the Oldenburg van Bruggen Studio, Copyright 1965 Claes Oldenburg)
Claes Oldenburg, “Notebook Page: Shoestring Potatoes, Ketchup Bottle and Coke Glass, New York,” ballpoint pen and clipping, 8 x 5 13/16 inches on sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches (photo courtesy the Oldenburg van Bruggen Studio, Copyright 1965 Claes Oldenburg)

The Getty Research Institute has acquired the complete archives of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The collection includes works from every period of Oldeberg’s career, with over 2,000 sketches and collages, 450 diaries and notebooks, collections of correspondence, photography, poetry, audiovisual material, plans and templates related to projects, loose writings, and more. The archives also feature collaborative works between Oldenburg and van Bruggen, such as large-scale projects and sculptures. [via email announcement]

This and other notable sales and acquisitions are chronicled in our latest Transactions story.

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