Russian Artist-Activist on Trial, Long-Closed Cairo Museum Reopens, and More: Morning Links from April 13, 2021

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The Headlines

CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS IN NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA, are facing major funding cuts in budget numbers proposed by the state government, the Brisbane Times reports. For one, the Art Gallery of NSW, which is about to open a new contemporary art venue, Sydney Modern, that will nearly double its exhibition space, would see a drop of AU$9 million (about US$6.85 million). “These are  significant and savage cuts,” Walt Secord, an opposition politician, told ABC NewsCecelia Cmielewski, an arts-policy researcher, told the Times that the cuts come in the “context of the continuing decimation over the past years of the more experimental small-to-medium Australian arts companies that stimulate and drive our creative output.” The state arts minister, Don Harwin, declined to comment on the budget.

THE RUSSIAN FEMINIST ACTIVIST AND ARTIST YULIA TSVETKOVA is facing six years in prison on charges of distributing pornography, apparently for posting art featuring women’s bodies, including drawings of vaginas, online, the Associated Press reports. Her trial started Monday. Tsvetkova, a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, has said she is innocent. Human-rights groups allege she is being prosecuted because of her advocacy. She is not allowed to share details of her case, which is being held in private. A show of her paintings opened over the weekend in St. Petersburg. One of her supporters, artist Alexei Gorbushin, told the AP, “The snowball of censorship has started to bother the artistic community very much, and we understood that if we don’t stand up for Yulia, don’t support her, any other person can be next.”

The Digest

More Salvator Mundi news: the $450.3 million painting was housed on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s yacht Serene after it went undisplayed in the Louvre’s 2019 Leonardo show because of a reported curatorial dispute between the French museum and the Saudi government. [The Wall Street Journal]

The Mr & Mrs Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo, which is rich with works of European Impressionism, has reopened to the public, after being closed for more than a decade. It was shuttered in August of 2010, in the wake of the theft of a Vincent van Gogh that has never been recovered. [The Art Newspaper]

A groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday for a Santiago Calatrava–designed convention center in Taoyuan, Taiwan, that will play host to exhibitions and concerts. Construction is estimated to last three years. Its budget is $350 million. [Taiwan News]

The Cleveland Museum of Art has rehung its contemporary galleries to emphasize women artists and artists of color. Among the artists with work on view are Zilia Sánchez, Lee Bontecou, Simone Leigh, and Robert Colescott. [WKYC Studios]

Watch museums—like all museums—have been working to stay busy (and to stay afloat) during the pandemic, digitizing their collections and renovating displays. “It’s still more difficult getting an audience for a clock and watch museum than for an art museum,” Johannes Graf, the acting director of the German Clock Museum at Furtwangen University said. [The New York Times]

Rapper and artist M.I.A.’s first NFT sold for $52,000. [Crack]

Grimes, another musician who’s gotten involved in NFTs, got a new back tattoo by the artist Tweakt in collaboration with—to quote her—“the alien computer brain” of artist Nusi Quero. [Page Six]

A pair of Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes—shoes designed by Kanye West and Mark Smith—will be offered privately by Sotheby’s with a price tag of more than $1 million. The design was “critical to the development of the Yeezy franchise, which became one of the most important sneaker and lifestyle brands in history,” the auction house’s streetwear and collectibles head, Brahm Wachter, said. [Reuters]

Supreme is releasing a T-shirt with a painting by Dan Colen. The work in question comes from his early candle paintings. [Input]

The Kicker

THE LATEST ISSUE OF T: THE NEW YORK TIMES STYLE MAGAZINE is all about friendship, and a bounty of artistic bonds are surveyed. There are friends united by a love for the queer history and community of Fire Island in New York, by family ties, and by a love for backgammon and films (photographer Nan Goldin and writer Thora Siemsen). There is inter-species friendship, too, between the artist Ai Weiwei and his cats. At one point, Ai said, he had more than 30 in Beijing. “I’ve learned so much from animals,” he explained. “It’s important to be around another species that has a completely different set of instincts and intuitions.”

Thank you for reading. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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