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Malaysian Artist Detained for Allegedly Insulting Queen, Smithsonian Is Reopening, and More: Morning Links from April 26, 2021

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The Headlines

IN A VERY 2021 KIND OF MISE EN ABYME, the model Emily Ratajkowski is selling an NFT for a composite photo that has her posing in front of a Richard Prince work that appropriates one of her Instagram photos, the New York Times reports. Ratajkowski, who owns the Prince portrait, has written  about how it “felt strange that a big-time, fancy artist worth a lot more money than I am should be able to snatch one of my Instagram posts and sell it as his own.” Her NFT hits the block at Christie’s on May 14 with no reserve. It is titled Buying Myself Back: A Model for Redistribution. In other image-ownership news, the Andy Warhol Foundation is fighting a recent ruling that a Warhol portrait of Prince, based on an existing photo of the the musician, is not protected by fair use. Lynn Goldsmith , who got the original shot, has argued Warhol violated her copyright. A three-judge panel agreed with her in March; the foundation is asking the full appeals court to take up the case.

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THE MALAYSIAN ARTIST FAHMI REZA WAS DETAINED for allegedly insulting the nation’s queen, Reuters reports. Reza had created a Spotify playlist with an image of Queen Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah and songs that include that include the word “jealousy,” as a way of poking fun at a comment made by the monarch’s Instagram account. (Apparently it asked a user if they were jealous, in response to a question about the vaccination status of the queen’s private chefs.) Fahmi was later released; it is not clear if charges will be filed.

The Digest

The Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., are planning to reopen in May, after being closed since late November. [The Washington Post]

The Maine attorney general’s office has accused the estate of artist Robert Indiana of overpaying lawyers by $3.7 million. The estate’s executor has defended the compensation. Since Indiana’s death in 2018, rumors have swirled about the treatment of the artist late in his life and about whether he actually created certain works attributed to him. [The New York Times]

Allon Schoener, the curator of the controversial “Harlem on My Mind” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969, has died. He was 95. [The New York Times]

Nathalie Bondil has been named the head of the Institut du Monde Arabe’s museums and exhibitions division in Paris. Bondil was dismissed as director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts last year, amid claims that she created a toxic workplace. She is currently suing the museum for unfair dismissal and libel. [The Art Newspaper]

Writer Rachel Kushner, who has a new book of essays out, spoke with art critic Jonathan Griffin about how she became involved in the art world. “I had aspirations to write a novel, but hadn’t figured out how to do that yet,” she said. “Writing about art was a simpler proposition for me.” [The New York Times]

While renovating the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, during the lockdown, workers uncovered lost frescoes.  The public will soon be able to view them. [Associated Press]

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the director of the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Turin, Italy, conducted an extensive interview with Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple, that covers everything from cryptocurrency to imposter syndrome to  Lars von Trier. [Castello di Rivoli]

The Kicker

THE INDEFATIGABLE ARCHITECT THOMAS HEATHERWICK, the man behind the Vessel and the forthcoming Little Island in New York, has been spending time during the pandemic thinking about how to get people to commune together once more, after the pandemic recedes, he said in a Guardian profile. He’s also curious about “where in the world around us gets love,” he said, wondering why waste-recycling centers don’t receive the same kind of enriching architecture that art spaces do. In early sketches for many of his projects, he explained, “there’s a diagram with a heart, the place that brings people together.” [The Guardian]

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

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