Wyeth Trove to Maine Museum, Major Monet to Sotheby’s, and More: Morning Links from April 19, 2021

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The Headlines

THE FARNSWORTH ART MUSEUM IN ROCKLAND, MAINE, has received a gift of 27 works by Wyeth family artists—Andrew, N.C. Wyeth, and Jamie, the Bangor Daily News reports. They’re coming from the estate of Betsy Wyeth, Andrew’s wife, who died last year at the age of 98. The couple had a long, long relationship with the museum, the paper notes: They got to know the local arts patron Lucy Farnsworth in 1944, four years before she actually started it. “The Farnsworth is so fortunate to have the ongoing support of the Wyeth family,” the museum’s director, Christopher J. Brownawell, said in a statement quoted by the Portland Press Herald. The museum now has more than 100 works by the Wyeth clan.

BIDDING SOARED AT SOTHEBY’S HONG KONG ON SUNDAY for a work by the 20th-century Vietnamese painter Mai Trung ThứVnExpress reports. Carrying an estimate of about $900,000 to $1.2 million, Portrait of Mademoiselle Phuong (1930) ended up going for $3.1 million after fees, a record for a work by a Vietnamese artist—by a wide margin. (The previous top mark was a Le Pho that went for $1.36 million last year, per the outlet.) The elegant Thứ has an intriguing exhibition history: it appeared in Tran Anh Hung ’s 1993 film The Scent of Green Papaya, the first Vietnamese-language movie to be nominated for an Academy Award in the international feature category.

The Digest

A wildfire that broke out at Table Mountain national park in South Africa has damaged buildings at the University of Cape Town, including a library that houses rare books, photographs, and documents related to the anti-Apartheid movement. The origin of the fire is under investigation; the organization that oversees the park said that it believes “that the fire had been started accidentally by a homeless person,” the Guardian writes. [The Guardian/AFP/AP]

Sotheby’s will offer a Claude Monet water lilies painting next month at its Impressionist and modern art sale in New York. Its estimate: $40 million. [ARTnews]

Asian-American artists and art workers are responding to the rise in anti-Asian hate through a panoply of efforts, Aruna D’Souza reports. [The New York Times]

Penske Media—the owner of Rolling StoneVariety, and ARTnews—has acquired a 50 percent stake in the South by Southwest (SXSW) culture and tech festival. “It’s been an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included,” Southby’s chief executive, Roland Swenson, said. He called the deal “a true lifeline for us.” [ARTnews]

The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona in Spain will expand, adding about 32,000 square feet. The construction project has a price tag of about $6.61 million, and is scheduled to be completed in 2023. [Art Daily, Vilaweb]

Artist Leonora Carrington’s onetime home and studio in Mexico City will open to the public by the end of the year. The Metropolitan Autonomous University of Mexico acquired the property in 2017, and is turning it into a center for research on the British Surrealist, who died in 2011 at the age of 94. [The Art Newspaper]

On the occasion of her latest show at Gagosian in Manhattan, painter Helen Marden got the profile treatment from Carl Swanson. Marden (the wife of artist Brice Marden) talked being a waitress at the storied New York watering hole Max’s Kansas City in the 1960s  (“she once decked a pushy customer,” Swanson shares) and making art during the pandemic. “I was in my studio with this amazing light thinking about all the horror,” she said. [Vulture/New York]

Meanwhile, painter Robert Nava also got the profile treatment, from Nate Freeman. Nava’s makes rough-and-tumble, breezy figurative works—deskilled might be the word for them—and they tend to draw strong opinions. Marc Glimcher, the CEO of Pace Gallery, which represents the artist, said, “People are furious, just furious. People are saying, ‘How dare someone make such a simplistic, childish thing?’ ” [Artnet News]

The Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York, is offering free admission to anyone furnishing proof of having received a coronavirus vaccination. “We want to encourage people to get out there, get vaccinated, get those shots in your arms and come out and enjoy art,” its director and CEO, Elizabeth Dunbar, said. [Localsyr.com]

The Kicker

EYEBROWS ALWAYS RAISE WHEN AN ARTIST-CURATOR includes their own art in an exhibition they are organizing, but Astrid Cooper is bold, and she is doing just that for an upcoming show at the Edge art center at the University of Bath in England, the Guardian reports. Cooper—who is 5 years old, it should be noted—is staging the exhibition with her father, Will Cooper , a curator there. It’s titled “My Kid Could’ve Done That,” and will feature 15 grownup artists collaborating with their young children. Adult artists in the show include Ryan Gander and Jasleen Kaur. Asked about Astrid’s self-dealing, the elder Cooper said, “In my head I’m thinking ‘no, no, no, that’s not what a curator does…’ But then if that’s what she feels she needs to do, then we probably need to find a way to make it work.” [The Guardian]

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

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