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Arrest in Epic Dresden Museum Heist, Curator Terence Riley Dies, and More: Morning Links from May 19, 2021

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The Headlines

GERMAN INVESTIGATORS MADE A FIFTH ARREST on Monday in the 2019 theft of jewels from the Green Vault Museum in Dresden, the Associated Press reports. Four others (including the twin brother of the latest suspect to be detained) were picked up late last year for allegedly making off with diamonds, rubies, and other items—around 100 in total—from holdings assembled by Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony, in the 1700s. Reports have put the value of the material north of $1 billion, Reuters reports. The 22-year-old suspect, found in Berlin, is the last person that investigators were hunting in connection with the case. The location of the treasures is not known.

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The National Gallery in London, United

THERE’S GOOD ART NEWS AND BAD ART NEWS FROM FRANCE. First the bad: The square in front of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris has been closed because elevated levels of lead were found in the air, according to the AFP. When the building burned two years ago, hundreds of tons of lead paneling melted, sending it into the city’s air. The area will reopen after cleaning work. On a happier note, the gardens of Giverny—which Claude Monet loved so much and painted so extensively—are accessible to the public again, after a six-month shutdown. The spring blooms have already vanished, the AP reports, but there are now “irises in all hues from deep purple to light blue” that “look like they were painted by Monet himself.”

The Digest

The architect Terence Riley, who served as director of the Miami Art Museum (now the Pérez) and chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, has died. [The New York Times]

Artist Theaster Gates has been tapped to create the 2022 Serpentine Pavilion in London. He’s the first non-architect to get the annual commission for a temporary building from the Serpentine Gallery. [Designboom]

Following an investigation by Italian police specializing in cultural protection (sounds like a fun job), six stolen fragments of frescoes from Pompeii have been returned to that doomed city. [The Guardian]

Art Basel Hong Kong opened today to a limited audience, but some exhibitors who have been unable to visit the city have been creative about staffing their booths. One method: holography. [South China Morning Post]

Dealer Nicola Vassell got the profile treatment, with her eponymous new gallery opening in Manhattan’s Chelsea art district tomorrow. “It’s time for a Black-owned gallery to inhabit the art world in New York in a really strong, dynamic way,” she said. [The New York Times]

Matthew Brown is opening a second gallery in Los Angeles later this month. First up in the 4,000-square-foot space at 712 North La Brea Avenue is a solo show by Sasha Gordon. [Artforum]

The Kicker

MUSEUMS ARE REOPENING ACROSS ENGLAND, and artist Grayson Perry now has a show on view, tied to his Grayson’s Art Club television program, at the Manchester Art Gallery. At an event for the exhibition, he explained the comments he made last year about the pandemic perhaps clearing away “a bit of dead wood” from the art scene. (Some were displeased about those remarks.) He was thinking about art fairs, Perry told BBC News“The kind of bloated, money-drenched… But, you know, I’m part of that. Maybe I’m part of the stuff that’s got to be cleared away.” [BBC News]

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

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