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Embattled Orlando Museum Director Is Out, Artist Margaret Keane Dies at 94, and More: Morning Links for June 29, 2022

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The Headlines

GAME ON! After months of anticipation, Frieze has released the exhibitor list for its inaugural Seoul contemporary art fair, which runs September 2 through 5. The lineup features a total of some 110 galleries, and is rich with upper-echelon dealers like Gagosian, Matthew MarksDavid Zwirner, and Hauser & Wirth. A Frieze Masters section will feature 18 booths with works from throughout the ages, and a special grouping of 10 solo presentations by Asian galleries is being curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Hyejung Jang. The fair, which will take place September 2 through 5 at the COEX convention center alongside the long-running Korea International Art Fair, will be present a major test for the buzzed-about Korean art market, and it will also be Frieze’s first fair in Asia. Alex Greenberger has a full rundown of what will be on offer in ARTnews.

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Entrance to an exhibition with a

THE SAGA CONTINUES. The Orlando Museum of Art in Florida, which has been facing controversy over a now-shuttered Jean-Michel Basquiat show that was raided by the FBI last week, announced that Aaron De Groft is no longer its director and CEO, the New York Times reports. Some experts have said that works in the show are fakes; their owners claim they were found in a storage unit rented by the late screenwriter Thad Mumford, who acquired them from the artist. A complication with that provenance: Mumford told investigators before his death that he never met Basquiat. Neither museum nor De Groft has been accused of criminal wrongdoing. The former director had not responded to the Times by press time.

The Digest

IN OTHER MUSEUM LEADERSHIP NEWS: The American Folk Art Museum in New York has lined up a $5 million gift from Arkansas philanthropists Becky and Bob Alexander, who will receive naming rights for the its directorship, the Associated Press reports. And Daniel Weiss will step down as president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art next year, ARTnews reports.

Artist Margaret Keane, whose huge-eyed paintings of cartoonish children delighted the public and enraged more than a few critics, has died at 94. The story of her art, and her husband taking credit for it, was the subject of the 2014 Tim Burton film Big Eyes. [The New York Times]

Bonhams just cannot stop buying other auction houses. The London-based firm has snapped up Paris’s Cornette de Saint-Cyr, following its recent acquisitions of Bukowskis in Stockholm, Skinner in Boston, and Bruun Rasmussen in Copenhagen. [The Value]

Speaking of Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts there and its employees have agreed on their first union contract. Staffers voted to join the United Auto Workers Local 2110 in late 2020. The deal will include a a minimum 5-percent bump in wages next month, followed by 3-percent boosts in 2023 and 2024. [The Associated Press]

At a contemporary art sale at Christie’s in Paris on Tuesday, a Jeff Koons “Balloon Monkey” sculpture that was being auctioned by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk and his wife Olena to support troops from the country sold for £10 million (about $12.6 million). Angelica Villa has a full report on the auction, and another that followed in London. [ARTnews]

Statues of figures with links to slavery will remain on view at Goldsmiths, University of London, following a vote by locals. Some students had called for their removal. [Evening Standard]

A renowned Roman floor mosaic dating back some 1,700 years was returned to the location where it was discovered in Lod, Israel, near Tel Aviv, after going on a long tour of global museums. [Reuters]

The Kicker

BRUSHED-OFF. Well, here is a not-safe-for-work tale about Pierre-Auguste Renoir, as told by fellow artist Tacita Dean in the pages of Vogue. Renoir developed arthritis in his hands later in life, and Dean says that some (very rude) individual once asked him, “How do you paint when you can’t hold a brush?” The Impressionist’s rejoinder: “I paint with my prick.” OK! Enjoy your day. [Vogue]

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