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ARCHIVE FEVER. The New York Public Library has purchased the literary archives of Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, the New York Times reports. The material from the late couple runs a formidable 240 feet, and include drafts, photos, research materials, personal records, and letters, including one that Didion wrote in 1957, at the age of 22, to her family, informing them that a “little black dress” had been “a smashing success.” Speaking of Didion, a 2005 photograph of her by Brigitte Lacombe is included in the show of portraits of artists that curator Helen Molesworth has organized at the International Center of Photography in New York. The Guardian has a selection of images from the exhibition, whose other contributors are Tacita Dean and Catherine Opie (one unforgettable picture: a topless Lawrence Weiner).
CRYSTAL BALLS. What awaits us in 2023? Ocula asked a variety of art luminaries to make predictions about this new year, and artist Trevor Paglen responded with a particularly dark vision involving A.I. “The ability to generate specifically tailored text, images, and other media forms nearly instantaneously will not only decimate cultural workers, but dramatically accelerate the algorithmically-supercharged fracturing of a shared reality,” he wrote, in part. Meanwhile, in the New York Times, George Gurley asked various notables to name “the things we do today that will seem embarrassing or otherwise regrettable to our future selves.” Many replies were fairly predictable—eating meat, pets in strollers—but not artist Jamian Juliano-Villani’s. “Beanies and workwear,” she said. “Because no one’s working. And no one’s that cold.”
At start of the war in Ukraine, Russian mega-collector Roman Abramovich positioned himself as a possible peace broker, but his efforts have faltered, and his vast fortune is facing serious legal pressure internationally. [The Wall Street Journal]
Walter Ulloa, the trailblazing media executive who was an important patron of Latinx culture, has died at 74. Ulloa was a longtime art collector and supported the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, which opened in Riverside, California, last year. [Los Angeles Times]
The Chatsworth House Trust, which is responsible for that art-rich house in the Derbyshire Dales of England, has a new director: Jane Marriot. She has been director of the Harewood House Trust for the past six years, and was previously director of the Royal Academy Trust (the youngest woman to hold the role) and director of development at the Royal Academy of Arts. [Destination Chesterfield]
The opening of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles is still two years away, but the Ma Yansong–designed building, which will have 300,000 square feet and cost a cool $1 billion, is already a sight to behold. Photojournalist Allen J. Schaben has published fairly mesmerizing images of its current state. [LAT]
Artist Kenneth Tam has been making work about the Chinese migrant workers who helped build the U.S. railroad system in the 19th century. It is now on view at Ballroom Marfa in that Texas town, and Zachary Small gave Tam the profile treatment. [The New York Times]
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST. Architectural Digest paid a visit to the two-bedroom New York apartment where actor Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos, The White Lotus) lives with his wife, interior designer Victoria Imperioli , and it is a stunner, filled with art. Some of it dates back centuries, but none of it is from after the 1930s. “I like modern art, but I don’t like living with it,” Michael Imperioli said. “I like being transported to another time, in a way, in the home.” [Architectural Digest]