Investigators Unable to Determine Cause of Glasgow School of Art Fire, Banksy Piece Is ‘Trapped,’ and More: Morning Links for January 26, 2022

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The Headlines

A SHAKE-UP IN PARIS. Art Basel, which runs three of the world’s biggest fairs, in Hong Kong, Miami Beach, and the namesake Swiss city, has plans to add a fourth edition to its arsenal, in Paris, ARTnews reports. Art Basel’s first fair in the French capital will kick off this October—and effectively eject FIAC, the country’s top art fair, from its venue, a temporary site run by the Grand Palais while its home base undergoes renovations. The switch is the result of a contest held by Grand Palais, which was seeking the highest bid for FIAC’s October slot. As people speculate about Paris’s post-Brexit ascent, Art Basel’s first French edition could fuel more market expansion in the city.

NO RESOLUTION. The damage from the 2018 fire at the Glasgow School of Art‘s Mackintosh Building was so severe that it will not be possible to determine what caused the blaze, investigators announced. BBC News has a rundown of their findings , including the painful news that more than an hour before the alarm was sounded, a passerby smelled “burned material” but assumed it had to do with the ongoing renovation of the building, which had been hit by fire in 2014. The report call for the school to take additional precautions in the future, the Scotsman notes. Paul Sweeney, a politician on the board of the Glasgow City Heritage Trust, told the Guardian that repairs must be undertaken quickly, saying the “lack of pace and grip shown by the authorities from the School of Art itself to the Scottish government has been nothing short of disgraceful.”

The Digest

ART AND POLITICS. The drop in the value of cryptocurrencies has created issues for the Former First Lady Melania Trump’s plan to auction one of her hats, as well as a related watercolor and NFT, the New York Times reports. Meanwhile, in New York, an artist created a blood-filled fake crime scene outside Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg ’s office to protest the newly elected prosecutor’s support for criminal-justice reform, the New York Post reports.

The Portland Museum of Art in Maine has received north of 600 photographs from patron and photographer Judy Glickman Lauder, including pieces by Gordon Parks, Richard Avedon, and Glickman Lauder herself. [The Boston Globe]

The lawsuit that Robert Blumenthal Gallery brought against artist Derek Fordjour, claiming that Fordjour did not deliver seven of twenty pieces that it paid him $20,000 to make as an MFA student has been settled. Details of the settlement have not been made public. [Page Six]

A man who bought a Banksy installed in Port Talbot, Wales, is in the complicated position of not having permission to remove the windows necessary to get it out of its current location. “It means the Banksy is trapped, imprisoned in the building,” he said. [BBC News]

In partnership with Shanghai University, seven museums in Germany, including the Museum für Asiatische Kunst and Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin, are looking through their collections to identify material that may have been looted from China in the Boxer Rebellion at the start of the 20th century. [The Art Newspaper]

China is now home to nearly 2,000 private museums, according to official figures. Reporter Elaine Yau looked at how those institutions are working to attract deep-pocketed patrons. [South China Morning Post]

The Kicker

TROUBLE IN LA SERENISSIMA. The Venice Biennale is opening in about three months, so now is the time to brush up on your Italian language and etiquette. Here is one helpful tip, via of CNN: Do not take topless photos with any war memorials you might encounter there. A tourist did that recently and was hit with fines totaling about $500 and a 48-hour band from the city. A local noted that “when I travel, if I see a fountain, I don’t have the urge to jump in. If I’m in Paris, walking along the Seine, I don’t throw myself into the river. If I went to Prague, threw my clothes on a monument and went for a swim, would nothing happen? It’s common sense. Why do people do these things in Venice that they wouldn’t do elsewhere?” A fair question. [CNN]

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