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Yoko Ono’s Starring Role in ‘The Beatles: Get Back,’ Ancient Mummy Goes on View, , and More: Morning Links from December 9, 2021

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The Headlines

AROUND LONDON. Many have claimed that post-Brexit London is no longer Europe’s art capital, but some say otherwise. Possible proof comes courtesy of Melanie Gerlis‘s latest column in Financial Times, in which she notes that Hauser & Wirth will expand in London with a new 15,000-square-foot space. “Despite the disappointments and disadvantages that came with Brexit, our artists all want to show in London,” gallery cofounder Iwan Wirth said. “London is by no means dead by a thousand cuts.” Also in that column, Gerlis reports that the art advisory firm Gurr Johns has purchased Forum Auctions, a London-based specialist on works on paper typically priced below $100,000. And architecture critic Oliver Wainwright writes on A House for Artists, a new 12-unit building for artists in east London that “is designed to soften the impact of gentrification.”

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A Black woman in a denim

FASHIONING AN IMAGE. It’s no secret that, outside the art world, Yoko Ono is best known not for her groundbreaking artworks but for allegedly breaking up The Beatles. There’s been renewed talk about her role in the band’s final years with the release of Peter Jackson’s eight-hour documentary The Beatles: Get Back. In a new column, critic Amanda Hess takes this topic head-on, writing, “The documentary’s shaggy run-time reveals Ono’s provocation in all its intensity. It’s as if she is staging a marathon performance piece, and in a way, she is.” Elsewhere, Aperture magazine’s latest issue focuses on Latinx photography. It’s guest edited by curator Pilar Tompkins Rivas, who writes in her editor’s letter about how family photographs, “part of a larger history of vernacular Latinx photography,” are key to understanding the art she highlights in the issue.

The Digest

More than 300 luminaries, including Meryl StreepZadie SmithTania Bruguera, and Coco Fusco, have signed a letter sponsored by PEN International that reads, in part, “We call on the Cuban government to respect the fundamental role that art and artists play in society and immediately stop harassing artists for engaging in political and social critiques that are not in line with the government’s rigid ideology.” [The Art Newspaper]

mummy believed to be between 800 and 1,200 years old is currently on view at the San Marcos University in Lima. [Reuters]

Also on the archeology front, the full remains of a Roman crucifixion victim have been unearthed. [Artnet News]

Oakland-based artist Sadie Barnette gets the profile treatment on the occasion of a solo show at Jessica Silverman Gallery. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Here’s a review of the Milton Avery retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Texas. [The Wall Street Journal]

Working with technologists Lo Bénichou and Shikha Subramaniam and animator Kolin Pope, critic Philip Kennicott gives a stunning interactive virtual tour of the Tenement Museum in New York. [The Washington Post]

Photographer Herlinde Koelbl’s 30-year art project “Traces of Power” images how working in public office changed Angela Merkel, whose last day as German Chancellor was yesterday. [The New York Times]

The Kicker

REFLECTING ON THE YEAR. As 2022 looms, most publications take a look back on what happened this past year. In addition to its usual coverage year-end coverage—Holland Cotter and Roberta Smith wrote on the “Best Art Exhibitions of 2021”—the New York Times has taken a decidedly different approach with a special series of guest essays under the name  “Turning Points,” with a range of contributors offering their musings on the past 12 months. So far, two artists have weighed in. Hiroshi Sugimoto writes on “the simple pleasure of living in the same community,” the Enoura Observatory in Japan. And KAWS (aka Brian Donnelly) addresses his own artwork Companion 2020. Is it self-indulgent to contemplate your own artwork in this way? You be the judge.

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