Art Historian Offers New ‘Starry Night’ Theory, Museum Leader Jim Harithas Dies at 90, and More: Morning Links for March 27, 2023 - The World News

Art Historian Offers New ‘Starry Night’ Theory, Museum Leader Jim Harithas Dies at 90, and More: Morning Links for March 27, 2023

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The Headlines

JIM HARITHAS, the freewheeling curator who cofounded two key Houston art institutions, died last week at the age of 90, the Houston Chronicle reports. With his wife, Ann Harithas, who died in 2021, Harithas established the Station Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Car Museum. The Station Museum, which opened in 2001 and shuttered indefinitely late last year, presented a wide array of venturesome art, from the local to the international. The Art Car Museum focuses on Houston’s annual Art Car Parade. Harithas came to the city to serve as director of its Contemporary Arts Museum, a position he held from 1974 to 1978. Prior to that, he had led the Everson Museum of Art (where Yoko Ono’s first museum show generated a rumor of a Beatles reunion) in Syracuse, New York, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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A painting of a golden wheat field with a tree that appears to blow in the wind. A tall cypress tree looms amid mountains and a sky whose clouds appear to roll.

ALL PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY. Following news that a Florida principal was pressured to resign after sixth-grade students were shown an image of Michelangelo’s David (1501–04), the museum where it resides, the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy, invited parents and the students from the school to come and have a look, the Associated Press reports. “To think that David could be pornographic means truly not understanding the contents of the Bible, not understanding Western culture and not understanding Renaissance art,” its director, Cecilie Hollberg, said. Florence’s mayor also invited the ousted principal, Hope Carrasquilla, to come through. Carrasquilla said that she may accept, explaining to the AP that, while she has visited the piece before, “I would love to go and be a guest of the mayor.”

The Digest

The artist Koo Jeong A will represent South Korea at the 2024 Venice Biennale. Organizing the pavilion will be Jacob Fabricius, the director of the Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark, and Lee Sun-hee, its director. The exhibition will involve “invisible elements such as scents and temperatures,” Kim Da-sol reports. [The Korea Herald]

Sotheby’s hit pause on an online auction, “Natively Digital: Glitch-ism,” after one of the artists in the sale, Patrick Amadon, raised concern its lack of female-identifying artists. The auction house said it will hold the event later with “a more equitable and diverse group of artists.” [Decrypt]

Archaeologists studying the burial of a man in the second century at a Roman necropolis on the edge of Sagalassos in Turkey found more than three dozen bent or twisted nails. A new paper argues that they were part of an occult practice aimed at ensuring the dead did not return. [The New York Times]

The art historian James Hall has proposed that Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 The Starry Night was inspired by the then-new Eiffel Tower and the fireworks surrounding its inauguration, which are channeled in the “pyrotechnical music of the stars, sky, and clouds” in the artist’s legendary piece, Hall writes. [The Guardian]

Meet Markus Dochantschi, the architect behind a bevy of major New York art spaces in recent years, from the new-ish Phillips auction house in Midtown to the forthcoming Tribeca locations of Marian Goodman and Alexander Gray Associates. His thoughts on the white cube? “I’m a bit tired of it,” he said. [The New York Times]

At an event on Friday, Greece marked the donation of three fragments of the Parthenon from the Vatican Museums to the Greek Orthodox Church. “This act by Pope Francis is of historical significance and has a positive impact on all levels,” Archbishop Ieronymos II said. [The Associated Press]

The Kicker

GAMECHANGER. In the New York TimesMatt Flegenheimer and Kate Kelly have a robust profile of Steve Cohen, the billionaire art collector and hedge-funder who is now the big-spending owner of the Mets. He has gone from “a reclusive avatar of scofflaw capitalism to an avuncular Twitterer who could probably be elected Queens borough president by acclamation,” they write. Once known for running a highly intense workplace, Cohen said, “I’ve mellowed.” Because of the huge player contracts he is paying, Major League Baseball has instituted a so-called Cohen Tax aimed at penalizing such deals. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo told the Times that Cohen said of that rule change: “It’s an honor. Wouldn’t you want a tax named after you?” [NYT]

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