Tel Aviv Museum of Art Cancels Christie’s Conference—and More Art News –

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The Headlines

CONTROVERSY IN ISRAEL. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art said that it has nixed a conference on the restitution of Nazi-looted art that it had planned for December with Christie’s, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports. The partnership had generated criticism because of the auction house’s recent $202 million sale of jewelry owned by the late collector Heidi Horten, whose husband, Helmut, acquired Jewish firms sold under duress in Nazi Germany. The Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA said that the event would be “a platform within the Jewish state for Holocaust profiteers to justify their plunder,” according to the JTAChristie’s has defended the auction, saying that the funds from the jewelry, purchased from the 1970s on, were going toward philanthropic causes and that it would give “a significant portion” of its commission to Holocaust education groups. (Some have reportedly rejected the donations.) The museum said it had planned the conference before the Horten sale, and that it is canceling it because of the controversy, saying it “is attentive to criticism and bound by public sentiment.”

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A blocky museum facade with two people walking into its entryway.

CONTROVERSY IN AUSTRALIA. A firm specializing in financial investigations has requested information from the National Gallery of Australia and other museums in the country about art they may have purchased from John Wayne Millwood, a businessman convicted of child sexual abuse, ArtAsiaPacific reports. Millwood, who was sentenced to four years in prison in 2016, has been accused of divesting himself of assets and declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying some AU$5.3 million (about US$3.52 million) in compensation to the abuse survivor.  The inquiring firm, Sheahan Lock Partners, has been serving as bankruptcy trustee; the Australian has reported that it has been attempting to claw back funds from material that that Millwood sold, in order to compensate the survivor. The NGA has said it acquired works from him before he was charged. According to Australia’s ABC News, Millwood told a court that he sold and gave away parts of his fortune because he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The Digest

It’s official: Five years after President Donald J. Trump pulled the United States out of UNESCO, alleging that the organization had an anti-Israel bias, the nation was readmitted. The vote by its members was 132 in favor, 15 abstaining, and 10 opposed, including China, Russia, and Iran. [AFP/France24]

Artist Cho Yong-ik, a key figure in the development of the Dansaekhwa, monochrome painting, movement in South Korea, died on Sunday at the age of 89. [The Chosun Ilbo]

Since 2006, the All England Club, which runs the Wimbledon tennis championships, has been commissioning artists to create works. The latest in the series is a 12-foot-tall bronze sculpture by Mark Reed of a tree that resembles a player mid-serve. It took almost 6,000 hours to complete. [The New York Times]

Three of nine defendants have entered guilty pleas on charges related to their involvement in what federal officials say was a burglary ring that stole art and sports memorabilia over many years. A Jackson Pollock and an Andy Warhol the group is said to have taken remain missing. [The Associated Press]

AESTHETIC EXPERTISE.Graham Coxon, of the band Blur, shared some of his “cultural highlights” with the Guardian, including David Hockney’s current show at Lightroom in London and the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Meanwhile, Jessica Bell Brown, curator for contemporary art at the Baltimore Museum of Art, discussed some of her touchstones, like a classic David Hammons book, a Simone Leigh ceramic, and Greek yogurt—and the best advice she ever received.

The Kicker

BUYER’S GUIDE. The revered New York collector Neda Young is in the pages of Cultured, discussing her friendships with artists and what makes her decide to make an acquisition. One key quote: “You have to have some knowledge, but it always comes from the stomach and the heart for me.” How has she built her collection over the years? “Every time I had any money, I would just buy art,” she said. “Friends would go buy gorgeous leather pants—but, you know, T.J. Maxx didn’t exist then.” [Cultured]

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