Arrest in MFA Houston Break-In, David Zwirner to L.A., and More: Morning Links from April 16, 2021

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The Headlines

LAST MONTH, TWO PEOPLE BROKE INTO the Bayou Bend branch of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and escaped by boat after being spotted, police reported at the time. Now an arrest has been made, according to the Houston ChronicleLewis Yates Robertson has been charged with burglary. Nothing was damaged or stolen at the museum outpost, which was once the home of the famed arts philanthropist Ima Hogg (celebrated in the 2016 book Ima Hogg: The Extraordinary Cultural Patron Behind the Unusual Name). The local ABC television affiliate (which has explored the getaway location in a satisfying segment), said that the other suspect is a woman, and that she remains at large.

THESE ARE STRANGE DAYS FOR THE FRENCH ART WORLD. A court ruled that the nation’s art galleries must remain closed amid the current coronavirus lockdown, even as auction houses are allowed to operate, Artnet News reported. Dealers had filed suit with the aim of returning to in-person business. Meanwhile, the fate of the Louvre’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez, is uncertain as his contract expires. French President Emanuel Macron has not yet made a decision about whether to give him a third term or tap someone new. For now, Martinez, who’s held the plum job since 2013, has been given the title of interim director, the Art Newspaper reported. The Covid-19 diagnosis of the nation’s culture minister, Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, has reportedly delayed the choice.

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The Digest

The mega-gallery galleries just keep coming! A day after Hauser & Wirth said it is Monaco bound, Nate Freeman has the scoop that David Zwirner is planning a Los Angeles gallery that will be helmed by the veteran dealer Robert Goff. [Artnet News]

Famed New York dealer Paula Cooper has unveiled a succession plan for her gallery, with four directors, including her son, set to join her in a partnership. [ARTnews]

The president of the Wadsworth Atheneum, William R. Peelle, Jr. has stepped down for “personal reasons,” according to a rep for the Hartford, Connecticut institution. His resignation comes shortly after it was announced that its director would depart as the museum pursued a plan to better reach communities of color in the city. [The Art Newspaper]

The artist, teacher, and author Bob Ragland, a mainstay of the Denver art community, has died. He was 82. In 2016, he was the subject of a short documentary titled Rags to Riches by one of his former students. [The Denver Post]

Attention is growing for the Filipina painter Pacita Abad, who died in 2004. Her work currently appears in the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, and she’ll get her first U.S. survey in 2023, at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai has a solo show on tap for October. [ARTnews]

Artists Ayman Baalbaki and Mouna Rebeiz will represent Lebanon at the 2022 Venice Biennale. The curator of the pavilion (which will be located in the Arsenale) will be Nada Ghandour. [The Daily Star]

The rapper, producer, entrepreneur, and fashion mogul Kanye West is looking to date an artist, according to Page Six, which cited an unnamed source. [Page Six]

The Kicker

WHO IS BUYING ALL OF THESE NFTS—AND WHY? Bloomberg spoke with heavyweight NFT collectors like etyoungPablo Rodriguez-Fraile, and Whale Shark. (Pseudonyms are big in this world.) Shark, who is based in Hong Kong, said that he holds more than 200,000 tokens (that’s how many works the Museum of Modern Art owns, as it happens). Despite his big investments, he’s cautious about the field. “I do believe that 99.9 percent of projects out today won’t hold value,” he said. “You had so many independent projects that were leveraging NFTs in a very exploratory manner. What we’re looking to in the future is projects that have that mainstream polish.” [Bloomberg]

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you on Monday.

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