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Abu Dhabi Art Dealer Allegedly Hawks Covid-19 Vaccines, Morán Morán to Mexico City, and More: Morning Links from April 20, 2021

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The Headlines

MUSEUMS ARE CONTINUING TO DEACCESSION WORKS and send them to the auction block to help improve their balance sheets. The New-York Historical Society is parting with a Childe Hassam flag painting, with a low estimate of $12 million, at Sotheby’s next month, Katya Kazakina reports for Artnet News. Other institutions selling include the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Newark Museum of Art . Many are taking advantage of a temporary relaxation of industry rules that allow sales funds to go toward collection care. ARTnews looked at the deaccessioning boom earlier this year. Given museums’ strained finances amid the pandemic, “I definitely think there’s going to be an uptick on the need to sell,” one auction-house staffer said at the time.

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Ben Heller's storied Central Park West

THERE HAS BEEN ANOTHER ARTISTIC MISUNDERSTANDING: Earlier this month, a Seoul couple was arrested for defacing a painting that they believed was a participatory artwork. Now a rock climber has admitted to damaging petroglyphs by installing climbing bolts on a rock face in Utah, saying that he believed the markings were graffiti, the Art Newspaper reports. The petroglyphs are believed to have been created by the Fremont people, who lived in the area more than 700 years ago. “It’s wrong,” the man has said. “It shouldn’t have happened. It’s just poor education on my part, and I do take full responsibility.” Authorities are investigating.

The Digest

Big resignations at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles: Senior curator Mia Locks quit last month, saying that MOCA was not committed to diversity programs. Its human resources director, Carlos Viramontes, tendered his resignation in February, claiming it was “a hostile environment.” The museum has rejected the allegations. [Los Angeles Times]

A Ukrainian businesswoman named Natalya Muzaleva, who runs a gallery in Abu Dhabi, reportedly offered to sell coronavirus vaccine doses to the Czech Republic, which rejected the offer. It is not clear if Muzaleva actually had access to the jabs. She told a reporter only that there was “no deal.” [Reuters/Al Jazeera]

More than 30 antiquities that were illegally taken from Afghanistan have been returned to its ambassador to the United States by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. They were found among the holdings of the art dealer Subhash Kapoor, who’s been accused of smuggling and theft. He is currently in jail in India. [The New York Times]

Los Angeles gallery Morán Morán is moving to a larger space at the corner of Western and Melrose Avenues, and opening a branch in Mexico City’s tony Polanco area. [Press Release]

Good news for the Prince of Liechtenstein. A French court ruled that a painting attributed to Lucas Cranach that he owns, which was was seized during a forgery investigation, must be returned to him. [The Art Newspaper]

A traditional Korean hanbok worn by BTS member Jimin on The Tonight Show will be auctioned off by Seoul’s Myart Auction. Bidding will start at about $4,500 on the garment, which has not been washed since the performance. [The Korea Times]

The Kicker

ARTISTS: YOU JUST CANNOT KEEP THEM DOWN. After hearing about the idea of creating coronavirus “bubbles,” the Belgian artist and social worker Alain Verschueren decided to do that literally, Reuters reports. He constructed a kind of miniature greenhouse that sits atop his shoulders and encases his entire head. (You really have to see this thing to appreciate it.) Verschueren told the wire service that his goal was “to cut myself off a world that I found too dull, too noisy or smelly.” However, the unusual contraption has had a curious effect: people love coming up to him to ask about it. “This isolation became much more a way of connecting,” he said. [Reuters]

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

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