Met Plans van Gogh Show, Natural History Museum Names New President, and More: Morning Links for December 7,2022

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The Headlines

BLOCKBUSTER TIME.In May, theMetropolitan Museum of Artwillstage an exhibitionfocusing onVincent van Gogh’s famed depictions of the cypress trees in the South of France, with some 40 works. Major loans are coming from MoMA (1889’sThe Starry Night!), theNational Galleryin London, and theKröller-Müller Museumin Otterlo, the Netherlands. “The show is not only the first to focus on the motif but it’s also giving an unprecedented look at the back story behind these paintings that have long captivated our attention,” its curator,Susan Alyson Stein,told theNew York Times. The Met’s director,Max Hollein, said at a press conferencecovered by theArt Newspaperthat van Gogh’s cypresses are the “most famous trees in art history,” and that he depicted them with “fierce power and expression.”

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A GLORIOUS GRAVE.On Tuesday, archaeologists in the United Kingdom revealed that they hadmade a landmark discovery—a 1,300-year-old burial of a woman who appears to have been a powerful early Christian leader—on the site of a housing development 60 miles north of London,CBS Newsreports. Only tooth enamel of the 7th-century human remains, but the dig revealed a “30-piece necklace of intricately-wrought gold, garnets and semi-precious stones,” “the richest necklace of its type ever uncovered in Britain,” theGuardianreports. “This is the most significant early medieval female burial ever discovered in Britain,” the project’s leader,Levente Bence Balázs, told the paper. The finds were unearthed in April; research on them has only just begun.

The Digest

TheAmerican Museum of Natural Historyhas named biophysical chemistSean M. Decaturas its next president. Currently the president ofKenyon Collegein Gambier, Ohio, Decatur will be the first Black head of the New York institution. He succeedsEllen V. Futter, who is departing after 30 years at the helm.[The New York Times]

A court in the United Kingdom ordered the two climate activists whoglued themselvesto the frame of aJohn Constablepainting at theNational Gallerythis summer to pay a total of £1,081 (about $1,310) for the damage that the museum said they caused. They had argued their action was protected expression.[The Guardian]

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who will become Brazil’s president next month, has said that he will restart the nation’s ministry of culture, which outgoing presidentJair Bolsonaroshuttered. Possible picks for secretary of culture are said to include singersChico CésarandDaniela Mercuryand a number of politicians.[The Art Newspaper]

After more than three decades atSotheby’s, Hong Kong–based senior international chairmanPatti Wong, who helped develop the city into a vital auction hub in Asia, is departing. “Though I am stepping down—I will never go far,” she said in a statement. “Sotheby’s runs in my blood; we will always stay close.”[The Value]

Leonardo DiCaprioreportedly finished his time at Art Basel Miami Beach in the early hours of Monday morning with fellow actorTobey Maguireand friends at an area Greek restaurant, smoking cigarettes and drinking water. Sounds like a perfect way to close out a busy week![PageSix]

REVIEW ROUNDUP.The 2020 biography of artistHilma af KlintbyJulia Voss(freshly translated into English) “succeeds in making a deeply private life public and readable,”Madoc Cairnsdeclares in theGuardian. And theAmedeo Modiglianishow at theBarnes Foundationin Philadelphia is an “intimate retrospective,” and thoroughly researched,Karen Wilkinwrites in theWall Street Journal.

The Kicker

NE TRAVAILLEZ JAMAIS!The wily artistCerith Wyn Evanshas a show up at theMostyngallery in the town of Llandudno in his native Wales, andspoke withtheFinancial Timesabout his journey through the art world. As a budding conceptualist atSaint Martin’s School of Artin London in the late 1970s, he was dismissed for not making any work, he said. His defense: “Not making work is my work!” He was let back in, and the rest—decades of beguiling, experimental work—is, of course, history.[FT]

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