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ARTIST ILYA KABAKOV, whose imaginative and incisive installations helped rocket him from the Soviet Union’s underground art scene to international acclaim, died on Saturday at the age of 89. His “visions were unsparing, sad, and explicitly critical of the state, and were, in that way, quite unlike the government-approved art being made in the Soviet Union,” Alex Greenberger writes in ARTnews. Collaborating with his niece and later wife, Emilia, beginning in 1989, he exhibited widely, from the Grand Palais in Paris, which staged a major display in 2014, to the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, which presented a 2008 retrospective. Writing in Artforum in 2018, art historian Claire Bishop in termed Kabakov “the paradigmatic installation artist.”
OFF COLOR. The rippling Snøhetta-designed facade on SFMOMA’s east side, which is normally white, is covered with “multistory smears of dirt and grime,” urban design critic John King reports in the San Francisco Chronicle. Its custom-built cleaning device is broken, according to a SFMOMA spox, who said, “We are aiming to identify alternate ways of cleaning the facade.” Over in Venice, part of the Grand Canal turned bright green on Sunday, baffling observers, per the Guardian. Police reportedly investigated if climate activists were responsible (the Ultima Generazione group said it “wasn’t us,” NPR notes), and tests revealed the cause: fluorescein, which is used to test wastewater. Officials did not say from where the substance may have come.
Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said that archaeologists have unearthed embalming workshops in Saqqara, about 20 miles south of Cairo. They are believed to date to the fourth century B.C.E. [Reuters/Yahoo!]
Three years after the explosion in Beirut’s port damaged the Sursock Museum‘s building and art holdings, the institution reopened on Friday. More than $2 million has been raised to support its restoration efforts. [The Associated Press]
At a charity auction at last week’s amfAR Cannes gala, which raises money for AIDS research, Damien Hirst’s 2016 “Spin Painting” portrait of actor Leonardo DiCaprio sold for $1.3 million. The piece was donated by collector Christian Levett, according to Simon de Pury, who gaveled the sale. [Variety and @simonedepury/Instagram]
A late-18th-century painting of a dog—perhaps Marie Antoinette’s Pompon!—by the little-known French artist Jacques Barthélémy Delamarre sold at Sotheby’s on Friday for $279,400, quite a bit above its $5,000 high estimate. [Hyperallergic]
ARTISTS SPACE. Sculptor Thomas J. Price, now showing at Hauser & Wirth in L.A., is in the L.A. Times; the category-eluding Darren Bader, who is selling his practice, is in the New York Times; and painter Hurvin Anderson, exhibiting at the Hepworth Wakefield, is in the Financial Times, with a guide to Cambridge, England, where he lives.
ON THE MOVE. Artist Anicka Yi has addedEsther Schipper as one of her dealers, per Ocula; Mirela Back has been tapped to run the Salzburger Kunstverein, per Artforum; and Dennis Scholl is retiring as president and CEO of Oolite Arts, per ArtDaily.
ELITE INSIGHTS. In this week’s New Yorker, Evan Osnos has a rollicking article about the market for superstar musicians playing private concerts that features a guest appearance from Anthony Scaramucci. The financier and ill-fated White House comms director offered some thoughts about how people spend money. “You’ve got to think about it as a pyramid,” he told Osnos. “The widest part is eating at McDonald’s. The narrowest part is ‘I paid two hundred million for the Basquiat.’ Because that’s one of a kind. I’m taking a piece of the immortality that artist created, and I’m owning it. Freud said we’re ultimately hysterical because of our own demise.” [The New Yorker]