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Sadie Barnette, 'Malcolm X Speaks,' 2018,

MOCA Detroit Names New Leaders, Ugo Rondinone to Curate Milwaukee Public Art Showcase, and More: Morning Links for February 2, 2022

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The Headlines

THE MOST SERENE REPUBLIC. The Venice Biennale has offered a first look at the artist list for this year’s edition, ARTnews reports. Taking as its theme “The Milk of Dreams,” the world’s biggest art exhibition will this time be curated by Cecilia Alemani , who has chosen to focus on posthumanism and new possibilities for the body. But don’t come expecting to find only artists who are still alive: Alemani promised a “transhistorical” show that would involve “time capsules,” or groupings of works by artists of the past that she has connected pieces by today’s top painters, sculptors, and more. There will be a heavy emphasis on Surrealism by women and gender nonconforming artists. Of the 213 artists that Alemani will include, 180 have never before shown at the Biennale, which this year opens on April 23.

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Sadie Barnette, 'Malcolm X Speaks,' 2018,

ARCHAEOLOGICAL ACTION. Weapons and armor dating to the 6th century B.C.E. have been discovered at a dig site at Velia, a onetime Greek colony in southern Italy, the Guardian reports. Up in the United Kingdom, construction at Oxford University has uncovered remnants of a college dating to 1435 that “had already fallen into disrepair 100 years later,” BBC News reports. (Tough break for alumni of this St. Mary’s College.) And in the Gaza Strip, workers building a housing project have found a tomb or cemetery that may have been in use during the late Roman or early Byzantine period, some 1,600 years ago, the Associated Press reports.

The Digest

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has tapped to be its director Cara Courage, formerly the chief of Tate Exchange in London, and Marie Madison-Patton, MOCAD’s director of business operations, to be its deputy director. The museum’s former leader was let go amid controversy in 2020. [The Detroit News]

Artist Ugo Rondinone has been selected as the guest curator of this year’s edition of Sculpture Milwaukee, the annual showcase of public art in Wisconsin’s Cream City. It will open in June with—triskaidekaphobics, be warned—13 works by 13 artists. [Milwaukee Record]

Rolling Stones guitarist, and sometimes artist, Ronnie Wood just unveiled a giant billboard in London with one of his paintings, an expressionist depiction of the band inspired by Picasso’s The Three Dancers (1925). It is part of a series of works that apparently all feature Stones singer Mick Jagger sans clothing. [Associated Press]

CRIME CASTS. The true crime podcast Last Seen—whose first season was devoted to the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery—is back, and its first two episodes cover a 1964 heist at the Museum of Natural History in New York and scandals involving art-filled freeports. Meanwhile, Artnet News notes , embattled actor Alec Baldwin is narrating a new podcast, Art Fraud, about the Knoedler Gallery forgery case. The show is penned by art journalist Michael Shnayerson.

Singer and actor Jennifer Lopez—who is starring in a new film, Marry Me, opposite Owen Wilson—has a large 2004 Barbara Kruger in her office in West Hollywood, California. [The New York Times]

Explore Santa Fe’s art scene on a five-day trip led by Marion Maneker, former ARTnews president and editorial director. Immerse yourself in New Mexico’s historic and contemporary art landscapes with guided tours, special access to private galleries, and more. Full Covid-19 vaccination is required. [ARTnews]

The Kicker

LOST AND FOUND. A storied investigator of art crime, Arthur Brand, has helped engineer the return of an ancient Roman statue of the god Bacchus that was stolen from the Musée du Pays Chatillonnais in France in 1973, the AFP reports. A private collector who had purchased the piece legally, unaware that it had been purloined, contacted Brand to dig into its provenance; his research revealed that it was the missing god of wine. Naturally, the museum’s director, Catherine Monnet , is thrilled to have the work back. “As for Arthur—he has free entrance to the museum for life,” she said. [AFP/France 24]

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