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The Week in Art

Crypto crash: what now for NFTs? Plus, Norway’s mega-museum and a Spanish-American screen

We talk to the writer and critic Amy Castor about what effect the tumbling crypto markets might have on the until-now booming world of non-fungible tokens or NFTs. As Norway’s vast new National Museum opens, we speak to its director Karin Hindsbo. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Folding Screen with Indian Wedding, Mitote, and Flying Pole, made in Mexico in the late 17th century. It is one of the major pieces in a new show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, called Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800. Ilona Katzew, the curator of the exhibition, talks in depth about the meanings and purpose of the work.

You can read Amy Castor’s thoughts on crypto and NFTs at

The National Museum in Oslo opens on 11 June.

Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 12 June-30 October.

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  • Unesco controversies; Fernando Botero; Barkley Hendricks in New York

    This week: the latest controversies prompted by the Unesco World Heritage Committee. As we mentioned last week, the 45th session of the committee is taking place in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, and continues until 25 September. The founder of The Art Newspaper, Anna Somers Cocks, joins host Ben Luke to look at the latest sites granted World Heritage status and at the Committee’s decision not to add Venice to the organisation’s endangered list. We ask: is Unesco so mired in politics that it cannot adequately perform its role? The Colombian artist Fernando Botero died last week, aged 91, and we talk to the gallerist Stéphane Custot, of Waddington Custot galleries in London, about this painter and sculptor who drew ire from many critics but achieved widespread public acclaim. And this episode’s Work of the Week is October’s Gone . . . Goodnight (1973) by Barkley L. Hendricks. As a group of paintings by Hendricks goes on display among the masters at Frick Madison in New York, Aimee Ng, co-curator of the exhibition, tells us about the painting.Barkley L. Hendricks: Portraits at the Frick, Frick Madison, New York, until 7 January 2024.
  • Saudi Arabia’s soft power grab; Julianknxx in London; Michelangelo’s Libyan Sibyl

    A Unesco conference and archeological summit in Saudi Arabia are the latest examples of the country’s increasing focus on culture as part of the so-called Vision 2030 programme. We look at Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented and lavishly funded focus on contemporary and ancient culture and how that relates to ongoing concerns about artistic freedom and human rights abuses in the kingdom. Alia Al-Senussi, a cultural strategist, and senior advisor at Art Basel and to the Saudi Ministry of Culture, joins host Ben Luke to discuss the contemporary art scene, and Melissa Gronlund, a reporter on the Middle East for The Art Newspaper, tells us about the push to reveal hitherto underexplored Saudi heritage. The Sierra Leone-born, London-based artist and poet Julianknxx this week unveiled a new project at London’s Barbican Centre, Chorus in Rememory of Flight. The multi-screen installation features performers and choirs from the African diaspora who Julianknxx met on a 4,000-mile trip around European cities with colonial histories, from Lisbon via Marseille, Rotterdam and Berlin to London. We talk to him about this epic endeavour. And this episode’s Work of the Week is among the greatest works on paper ever made: Michelangelo’s studies in red chalk for the Libyan Sibyl, one of the most distinctive figures on his Sistine Chapel ceiling. The drawing features in Michelangelo and Beyond at the Albertina in Vienna and one of its curators, Constanze Malissa, tells us more about it.Art in Saudi Arabia: A New Creative Economy? by Rebecca Anne Proctor, with Alia Al-Senussi, published 30 November, Lund Humphries, £19.99.Julianknxx: Chorus in Rememory of Flight, The Curve, Barbican Centre, London, and online on WePresent, until 11 February 2024; Julianknxx is in A World in Common: Contemporary African Photography, Tate Modern, until 14 January 2024.Michelangelo and Beyond, Albertina, Vienna, 15 September-14 January 2024.
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    In the first episode of this new season of The Week in Art, we talk to Martin Bailey, The Art Newspaper’s London correspondent, about the thefts scandal at the British Museum and its implications for the museum in the future. The artist Grada Kilomba is one of four curators of this year’s Sāo Paulo biennial, called Choreographies of the Impossible, and she joins our host Ben Luke to discuss the show. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Village Square at Céret, a painting made in 1920 by Chaïm Soutine. It features in the exhibition Against the Current, which opens this week at K20 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The exhibition’s co-curator, Susanne Meyer-Büser, tells us about the picture.The Sāo Paulo biennial: Choreographies of the Impossible, Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, Sāo Paulo, Brazil, 6 September-10 December.Chaïm Soutine: Against the Current, K20 Düsseldorf, 2 September until 14 January next year; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark, 9 February-14 July 14 2024; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland, 16 August-1 December 2024.
  • Art market and stagflation; Spain’s historical memory; Dürer plate remade by Goldin + Senneby

    This week: in the final episode of this season, James Goodwin, a specialist on the art market and its history, tells us about what high inflation and interest rates mean for the art market and what lies ahead. As Spain heads to the polls in July, we talk to Emilio Silva, president of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory in Madrid. What could the election mean for the controversial Spanish laws of Historical Memory and Democratic Memory relating to the Civil War of 1936 to 1939 and the period of Francisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship? And this episode’s Work of the Week is a project by the Swedish duo Goldin + Senneby. The work, called Quantitative Melencolia, involves recreating the lost plate for Albrecht Dürer’s famous engraving Melencolia I. It is part of the exhibition Economics: The Blockbuster, which opens this week at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, UK.Economics the Blockbuster: It’s not Business as Usual, Whitworth Art Gallery, until 22 October. The Manchester International Festival, until 16 July.The Week in Art is back on 1 September.
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