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Would-Be Banksy Destroyer Sentenced, RBG’s Library Will Be Auctioned, and More: Morning Links for January 5, 2021

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The Headlines

TOP LOTS. Former First Lady Melania Trump—who recently announced that she was starting an NFT platform—will sell the large white hat that she wore to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018 “with accompanying physical and digitized NFT drawings” by artist Marc-Antoine Coulon, per the AFP . A portion of the proceeds will go to charity. Books owned by the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg are being offered by Bonhams in an online sale with a low estimate of $60,000, Bloomberg reports. The roughly 165 lots include more than 1,000 volumes in a variety of genres; many are annotated. And a 1956 Porsche 356 Speedster once owned by artist Robert Morris just went for $220,000. (Thank you to writer Greg Allen for bringing this delectable car to our attention.)

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REMEMBERING GREG TATE. In Washington City PaperSteve Kiviat has a reported piece about the late author and musician’s time living in D.C., where his “singular blend of slang, academic, and activist writing originated.” In ARTnewsLiz Munsell and J. Faith Almiron, who collaborated with Tate on projects, write that, during his tenure at the Village Voice in the 1980s, he “signaled and catalyzed tidal shifts in cultural criticism toward the interdisciplinary scholarship we read and continue to need today.”

The Digest

The Los Angeles artist Luciano Perna, whose electric career ranged from conceptually rich sculptures to bewitching photographs that he posted to Instagram during the pandemic, has died 63 of an apparent heart attack, Christopher Knight reports. [Los Angeles Times]

The four-year-old NFT marketplace OpenSea has raised a crisp $300 million in new venture capital and now sports a valuation of about $13.3 billion. North of $3 billion in private investment money was plowed into NFT firms last year, according to a company that tracks such activities. [The New York Times]

A man was given a 14-month suspended sentence for attempting to break into a building in Port Talbot, Wales, to paint over a Banksy piece because he was upset that it was being moved to England after it was purchased by a London collector. [BBC News]

It seems that Rocco Ritchie—that is, Madonna’s 21-year-old son with ex-husband Guy Ritchie—has been exhibiting loose figurative paintings under the name Rhed. Not everyone is a fan. They “are clumsy adolescent efforts with no sign of originality or vigor,” according to critic Jonathan Jones. [The Guardian]

The pioneering Black and Ojibwa sculptor Edmonia Lewis (1844–1907), who was born in Upstate New York and spent much of her career in Italy, will appear on a U.S. postage stamp. [Times Union]

The new director of Sotheby’s operations in China is Jean Qian, a former management consultant who was previously at the Farfetch fashion retail site. [ArtReview]

The Kicker

LEARNING FROM KOONS. Jeff Koons has had his ups and downs over the years, but nothing seems to stop him. Judging by a new interview in Town & Country, he has been that way for a while. Phyllis Tuchman asked him how he got a job at MoMA early in his career. Koons: “I was persistent. Every day I would ask at MoMA if there was a job opening. Finally, they said they needed someone on the membership desk.” Meanwhile, in OculaPaul Laster asked him if he got “carried away” with his “Gazing Ball Paintings,” which festoon gazing balls atop copies of famous paintings. His answer is no. “I wish I could have done more,” Koons said. “When I say do more, I mean there’s a much wider range of our history. That would be fantastic. I actually feel I did too little, because I have only done 50 ‘Gazing Ball Paintings’ over the last seven years.” The artist has a show on view now at the QM Gallery Al Riwaq in Doha, Qatar.

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