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Art Workers Pursue Unions, DJ Steve Aoki Has Gone NFT, and More: Morning Links from March 10, 2021

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The Headlines

THE UNION PUSH IN THE U.S. ART WORLD IS CONTINUING. WBUR reports that workers at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams have submitted a petition to organize. MASS MoCA, the largest contemporary art museum in the United States, said in a statement, “We are committed to working in good faith to ensure a positive and productive work culture, and are evaluating our next steps.” Meanwhile, staffers and artists at the nonprofit Studio in a School, which provides art education in schools, are also taking the steps to organize, the New York Times reports. Over the past few years, employees at the Guggenheim, the New Museum, and other major institutions have formed unions, calling for higher wages and improved benefits.

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THE M.S. RAU GALLERY STRIKES AGAIN. The New Orleans outfit, which sold the Winston Churchill painting to Brad Pitt that recently set a record on the auction block, has another work on offer with a rich backstory, James Barron, of the New York Times, reports. It is a Norman Rockwell painting that a man got more than 50 years ago from a janitor who was about to deposit it in the garbage on a New York street. Its price: $885,000. The work is titled Bright Future for Banking (circa 1955), and Barron tracked down one of the women who modeled for it all those years ago. “It wasn’t one of his major exciting pictures,” she said. More Rockwells may soon join it on the market. The Boy Scouts of America recently proposed selling more than 50 works it owns by the artist in an effort to compensate victims of sexual abuse.

The Digest

Norton Juster, the architect and self-described “accidental author” of the beloved children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth, has died at 91. That volume featured drawings by Jules Feiffer; other books that Juster wrote were illustrated by Eric Carle and Domenico Gnoli. [The New York Times]

Gordon Lankton, the founder of the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts, and a member of the Plastics Hall of Fame, for his work as owner of the injection molder Nypro Inc., has died at the age of 89. [Telegram & Gazette]

Amélie Simier has been named director of the Musée Rodin in Paris. She’s led the Musée Bourdelle in the French capital since 2011. [ArtDaily]

German collector Julia Stoschek and digital-art publisher Daata are releasing 112 works online for free. [Ocula]

A number of art-focused talent agencies have popped up in recent years, aiming to connect artists with brands and public projects. Said one agent, “We focus exclusively on building and actioning a bespoke strategy for each artist that we work with.” [The Art Newspaper]

The New York chef Hiroki Odo, whose restos include Odo and Hall, is opening a gallery in Manhattan’s Flatiron district called, simply, the Gallery. First up is a show by photographer Cody Rasmussen. Dinner will be offered in the space beginning in July. [AMNY]

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida, has received more than 60 works of late-19th-century and early-20th-century American art from collectors Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. and Susan Cragg Stebbins. Albert Bierstadt, Martin Johnson Heade, and John Frederick Peto are among the artists represented. [ArtFixDaily]

When the histories of our time are penned, let the historians study this headline: “T-Mobile’s ex-CEO John Legere bought a $888,888.88 Steve Aoki NFT.” Aoki’s art series, such as it is, is titled “Dream Catcher.” [Rolling Stone]

The Kicker

ANNA DELVY, A.K.A. ANNA SOROKIN, A.K.A. THE ‘SOHO GRIFTER,’ was released from prison last month, after serving time for theft charges related to her exploits posing as an heiress and, among other things, attempting to secure a $22 million loan to start an art club. Sorokin (her real name) sold her life story to Netflix, and spoke to BBC Newsnight, explaining, “In my head I never thought that I was cheating or getting away with anything,” and “it just spun out of my control.” As the New York Post notes, she also argued that she does not believe that she was manipulative in her activities. “I just told people what I wanted and they gave it to me,” she said, “or I would move on.” Pretty good advice, actually. [New York Post]

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

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