Art Basel Welcomes First Visitors, Academy Museum to Revise Show on Jewish Hollywood History, Oxford University Returns Hindu Relic, and More: Morning Links for June 11, 2024 - The World News

Art Basel Welcomes First Visitors, Academy Museum to Revise Show on Jewish Hollywood History, Oxford University Returns Hindu Relic, and More: Morning Links for June 11, 2024

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UNDER REVIEW. The Academy of Museum Motion Pictures in Los Angeles announced Monday that it will revise an exhibit on Hollywood Jewish History following backlash, as first reported in the New York Times. The exhibition, titled “Hollywoodland: Jewish Founders and the Making of a Movie Capital,” opened on May 19, and was swiftly met with criticism from a group Jewish activists for its portrayal of Jewish studio founders, which some described as antisemitic. An open letter from United Jewish Writers, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter on Monday, protested the use of the words “tyrant,” “oppressive,” “womanizer” and “predator” in the show’s wall text. Some cultural critics pushed back against these detractors, noting that those descriptions were apt when applied to certain Hollywood figures who had mixed legacies. For its part, the museum has said in a statement that it “will be implementing the first set of changes immediately — they will allow us to tell these important stories without using phrasing that may unintentionally reinforce stereotypes.” 

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A purple-tinted rotunda whose walls are ringed with text on a long LED screen.

GRAZE AND GAZE. The world’s largest art fair, Art Basel, is upon us, and the guides to must-see shows, guesses to what wares will be offered, and artist spotlights are rolling in. ARTnews’s Devorah Lauter journeyed to the bucolic outskirts of the Swiss city for a feature on the Basel Social Club, which she describes as an “art fair–cum–social gathering” set on 50 acres of farmland in Bruderholz, where cows graze between installations by Tomás Saraceno and David Medalla, among others. The Art Newspaper, meanwhile, took the party indoors, as its reporter attended the swanky dinner for the imminent art crowd at a one-off eatery at an old water reservoir in the heart of Basel. The menu included mussels served with tarragon and ginger, apparently.


A former Vatican employee has been arrested for trying to sell a manuscript by Gian Lorenzo Bernini that he allegedly stole from an official archive of the Holy See. The suspect was busted as part of a major sting operation. [The Art Newspaper]

Hundreds of protestors staged a die-in on the streets outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to protest the mass casualties in Gaza. Between the bodies, a monumental Palestinian flag was unfurled. [Al Jazeera]

In his sterling review of the exhibition “I Saw It: Francisco de Goya, Printmaker,” at the Norton Simon MuseumChristopher Knight likens the show to a balm for the “criminality, outrageous racism, gaslighting, antediluvian misogyny, pedestrian hatreds, cruel religiosities, [and] fascist violence” prevalent in American politics in recent years. This is the museum’s first presentation of all four of Goya’s main print series; it sounds like a must-see. [Los Angeles Times]

A new museum dedicated to TV sci-fi memorabilia is set for Santa Monica. Aptly called Sci-Fi World, the institution was conceived by the nonprofit called the New Starship Foundation, and boasts the support of Star Trek alumni William Shatner and George Takei. [Deadline

Archaeologists have unearthed around 19,000 artifacts dating to the Middle Stone Age, at a “once-in-a-decade” excavation site in the United Kingdom. [Newsweek]

The American Institute of Architects is under scrutiny after 22 past presidents of the AIA signed letters containing claims of misconduct against the organization’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, Lakisha Ann Woods. The letters accuse current leaders of “potential misspending, nepotism, cronyism, and the pursuit of personal gain.” [Bloomberg]

Oxford University will return a 500-year-old bronze sculpture of a Hindu poet and saint to India, the university’s Ashmolean Museum said. [AP News]

AY CARAMBA. The British Museum, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, even the Louvre—each institution has been the target of a headline-dominating art heist, but are authorities overlooking an active thieving ring operating in plain sight, albeit in a humbler venue? Taco Bell—yes, the fast-food chain—has an art collection, and it’s been disappearing since at least 2015. In one incident at a Taco Bell in Westlake, Ohio, a thief pulled an acrylic painting, created by artist Mark T. Smith on commission and worth $800, right off the wall and walked out, to the shock of staff. (Though that location admittedly has bad luck: “It’s caught fire, they had somebody crash into it and it caught fire. That place is kind of jinxed,” Westlake police captain Guy Turner told Artnet.) The stolen paintings have been spotted for sale on online marketplaces, where a bundle of two or three could bring in thousands of dollars. When will the madness end? Justice for Taco Bell, we say. 

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