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Frank Ghery's design of the Williams

Art Collector Joe Berardo Arrested, Catherine Opie to Tackle Student Debt, and More: Morning Links for June 30, 2021

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The Headlines

THE LOS ANGELES PHOTOGRAPHER CATHERINE OPIE has been named chair of UCLA’s art department, and will not pursue another term on the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art in the city, the L.A. Times reports. Opie is succeeding Andrea Fraser, who has held the position since 2018 (and who recently had a conversation with fellow artist Lorraine O’Grady in  ARTnews ). Opie said in an interview with the Times that she will focus on addressing student debt. For “ongoing security in scholarships,” she wants “to bring in at least $10 million” over the next three years. “L.A. is an increasingly more expensive city to live in,” she said, explaining that there are “issues at UCLA with students being hungry. Some students have been sleeping in their cars.”

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Frank Ghery's design of the Williams

POLICE IN PORTUGAL HAVE ARRESTED the art collector Joe Berardo on charges of money laundering and fraud, Reuters reports, an escalation of his legal troubles of recent years. Authorities allege that Berardo moved artwork into a trust in order to dodge creditors. He and a lawyer who was also arrested have not commented on the claims. Berardo is the founder of the Museu Coleção Berardo in Lisbon, which shows major modern and contemporary artworks that he collected through a company known as the Berardo Collection Association. In 2019, the Art Newspaper reported, three banks filed suit to recover almost €1 billion (about $1.19 billion) in debt from him. “The banks seized the art collection from the Museu Colecao Berardo in Lisbon in 2019 as collateral and handed over the safeguarding of the works to the state,” Reuters reports.

The Digest

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond has tapped SmithGroup for a renovation and expansion project budgeted at $190 million. Construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2023 and run for two years. [NBC 12 and Press Release]

Lucian Freud’s portrait of David Hockney went for an above-estimate £14.9 million (about $20.7 million) in a Sotheby’s London sale of British and modern art that brought a within-expectations £156.2 million ($217 million). [ARTnews]

The Italian artist, architect, and designer Umberto Riva, who designed celebrated residences and domestic pieces, and who collaborated frequently with the Triennale di Milano, has died. He was 93. [Wallpaper]

Mark Johnson, who led the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama for more than 20 years, from 1994 to 2017, developing a sculpture garden and opening an education wing, has died. [Montgomery Advertiser]

Big names are joining the board of the planned National Museum of the American Latino in Washington, D.C., including actresses Sofía Vergara and Eva Longoria and chef José Andrés. [The Washington Post]

Thomas Gainsborough’s storied Blue Boy (ca. 1770) will be loaned to the National Gallery in London next year, marking its return to the United Kingdom for the first time in 100 years. It is being sent by the the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, whose founder, railroad kingpin Henry E. Huntington, purchased it in 1922 from the dealer Joseph Duveen. [ARTnews]

The Kicker

FEW PEOPLE ARE AS RELIABLY QUOTABLE as Frank Gehry. In an interview with Dezeen, tied to the opening of his fantastical tower for the Luma Arles art complex in France, the 92-year-old architect covered a lot of ground in his typically pithy fashion. What does he make of the economic boom that accompanied the opening of his Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain in 1997? “People are always telling me how I changed the city,” he said. “I didn’t mean to change the city, I just meant to be part of the city.” Asked about the environmental profile of the Luma building, he explained, “I respond to every fucking detail of the time we’re in with the people we live with, in this place.” [Dezeen]

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

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