To receive Morning Links in your inbox every weekday, sign up for our Breakfast with ARTnews newsletter.
ARTIST TADAAKI KUWAYAMA, who wielded a panoply of materials to create serene and beguiling monochromes, has died at 91, Artforum reports. Born in Nagoya, Japan, Kuwayama decamped to the United States in the late 1950s, and by 1961 was showing his work at Richard Bellamy’s storied Green Gallery in New York. Over the years, he used a paper from Japanese nihonga painting, as well as “Bakelite, Mylar, and titanium,” Artforum notes, always on the hunt for ways to channel pure color. “I think colors should be treated as equivalent to each other,” he once said. “The point is that they just exist.”
THE MYSTERY DEEPENS. In the New York Times, reporter Zachary Small has a fascinating deep dive on Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), the Swedish artist-mystic whose fame exploded following a 2018 Guggenheim Museum exhibition in Manhattan. Recent research suggests that more than a dozen paintings previously believed to have been completed by af Klint are, in fact, the work of another member of her collective, Anna Cassel, who was her lover. (For more on questions of authorship, head to scholar Susan L. Aberth’s April essay in Artforum.) Meanwhile, no fewer than three lawsuits in Sweden concern the control of the Hilma af Klint Foundation—legal battles that “have delayed plans for a permanent home to preserve the artist’s creations,” Small writes.
The National Museum of Scotland is returning a 36-foot-tall totem pole to the Nisga’a Nation in British Columbia. The spiritual object was sold to the museum in 1929 by an anthropologist who took it without permission, according to Nisga’a researchers. [The Associated Press]
Art collector Petch Osathanugrah, whose family firm Osotspa produces the popular Thai energy drink M-150, died on August 14 at the age of 63. The cause was a heart attack. With his father, Surat, he collected Thai and international art, and he planned to open a private museum in Bangkok. [ArtAsiaPacific]
Clark Atlanta University appointed Danille Taylor to be the director of its art museum. Taylor is a professor of African American studies at the Historically Black school and has been serving as the museum’s interim director for a year. [The Grio]
Next month, the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe will open a $20.2 million branch devoted to art from 1980 to the present. It is called the Vladem Contemporary, after patrons Robert and Ellen Vladem, who contributed $4 million to the project. [The Art Newspaper]
In 2017, a woman bought a painting for all of $4 at a thrift store in Manchester, New Hampshire. It turns out that it was made by N. C. Wyeth, and now it is estimated to go for as much as $250,000 at Bonhams. [WBZ News]
Leonardo da Vinci was the focus of a special live episode of You’re Dead to Me, the BBC “comedy podcast that takes history seriously.” Comedian Dara Ó Briain and historian Catherine Fletcher were the special guests. [You’re Dead to Me]
THE SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD. For the New Yorker, writer Zach Helfand asked artists to share their thoughts on Donald J. Trump’s Georgia mugshot. Sam McKinniss’s take? “Unfortunately, he nailed it.” McKinniss, whose paintings depict pop-culture touchstones, noted that the image oddly resembles an 1861 Henri Fantin-Latourself-portrait at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “This is like a self-portrait for Trump,” he told the magazine. “The experience as the viewer is of being dominated by the complete control he has over the police photography apparatus.” Painter Eric Fischl also weighed in astutely, and created his own depiction of the photo. [The New Yorker]